Anthony Rizzo, Yankees finalize $32 million, 2-year contract
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Anthony Rizzo was very happy to be back at spring training, and especially with the New York Yankees.
Rizzo was back in pinstripes Thursday after finalizing a $32 million, two-year contract.
“At the end of the day, this is really where we wanted to be,” the first baseman said. “It’s just a great fit for trying to win a World Series, and that’s what it’s all about here.”
Rizzo homered off Nestor Cortes Jr. on his third at-bat in a simulated game.
It was quite the change from workouts away from Steinbrenner Field while his deal was being completed, including one in Delray Beach,.
“Went to hit on the field the other day, and the sprinkler’s turned on when I got there,” Rizzo said. “And I just sit in my car like, it’s just sad I wasn’t in camp. I was like ‘What am I doing right now?’ It’s all part of it.”
Rizzo gets $16 million in each of the next two seasons. He has the right to opt out after this year’s World Series to become a free agent again.
A three-time All-Star, Rizzo was acquired by the Yankees from the Chicago Cubs on July 29 and added a left-handed bat to a heavily right-handed batting order. He hit .248 with 22 homers, 61 RBIs and a .783 OPS last season, including .249 with eight homers, 21 RBIs and a .768 OPS in 49 games for New York.
Rizzo also provided plate discipline and smooth fielding at first, where he has won a pair of Gold Gloves.
“He plays the position with ease,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We get a really good at-bat and a really good hitter to add some length to our lineup.”
The deal creates uncertainty for returning first baseman Luke Voit, the 2020 AL home run champion whose 2021 season was wrecked by injury.
“Luke is an elite bat,” Rizzo said. “I think that everything is going to shape out, it always does somehow, someway. If it’s here, I think we’re going be a good duo. We get along, most importantly off the field.”
Rizzo said in June that he had not received a coronavirus vaccine, adding “as we continue to get more data, I’ll continue to be more educated on it.”
Unless New York City changes its requirement, he will need to be vaccinated in order to play at Yankee Stadium. New York City currently mandates that every private sector employee be inoculated against the coronavirus.
Rizzo on Thursday didn’t say what is vaccination status currently is.
“I don’t think we’ll really have to worry about any of that, but we’ll see what the mandates are and all that,” Rizzo said. “As far as of all that, I’m not too concerned about it anymore. With that type of stuff, especially all the backlash that the very kind people online came at me last year with, I’ll just keep that private but it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Rizzo and outfielder Joey Gallo, a strikeout-prone left-handed hitter, were New York’s primary acquisitions at last summer’s trade deadline. Before the deals, DJ LeMahieu had been getting significant playing time at first.
Rizzo began his career with San Diego in 2011, then went to the Cubs in 2012. He is a career .268 hitter with 251 home runs and 814 RBIs.
New York general manager Brian Cashman has been busy since the end of the lockout. The Yankees acquired former AL MVP Josh Donaldson, shortstop Isiah Kiner-Falefa and backup catcher Ben Rortvedt from the Minnesota Twins on Sunday for catcher Gary Sánchez and third baseman Gio Urshela.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Rizzo, the Yankees placed right-hander Domingo Germán on the 60-day injured list with a shoulder injury. Germán resumed playing catch this week.
Voit, Kiner-Falefa, Gallo and second baseman Gleyber Torres are scheduled to travel for the Yankees’ spring training opener Friday against the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton. Minor league pitchers will make the trip.
“How small I felt hitting next to Gallo, (Aaron) Judge and (Giancarlo) Stanton. Very humbling.”
— Rizzo on what stood out when he joined the Yankees last season.
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