The New York Yankees are considering re-signing first baseman Anthony Rizzo, which comes as their preferred options continue to dwindle in the free agency and the trade market, according to multiple reports.
The 32-year-old Rizzo, who was traded to the Bronx Bombers from the Chicago Cubs last July for Alexander Vizcaíno and Kevin Alcántara, hit free agency this offseason when the MLB lockout ended.
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“I’m not closed out to pursuing options that might exist at first base,” said the team’s general manager Brian Cashman. “At the same time, we have some pretty good candidates in-house.”
Rizzo played 49 games in pinstripes last season, and recorded a .249 batting average and .340 on base percentage in 200 plate appearances.
Both numbers marked a decline from his career .268 BA and .369 OBP.
As of now, first baseman Luke Voit is in line to be the team’s starter at the position, according to manager Aaron Boone, with DJ LeMahieu serving as a potential backup, unless they make a move to sign someone else at first.
And while the Yankees front office scours the free agent pool, as well as potential trade targets, a return of Rizzo to the Bronx seems increasingly likely, as a number of other possibilities at first have joined other franchises already.
One major free agent target that fans had hoped could join the Yankees was Freddie Freeman, who entered free agency for the first time in his career after 12 seasons with the Atlanta Braves — but will likely need to find a new home after the team traded for first baseman Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics.
The New York Post reported that the Yankees did make an offer for Olson before the trade, but they were rebuffed in favor of the Braves’ deal.
That move takes Olson, a potential trade target for Cashman’s front office, off the table, while adding Freeman as an intriguing possibility.
However, Freeman, with a career .295 BA and .384 OBP, is also being highly sought after by a number of other teams, including three AL East division rivals — the Boston Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the Toronto Blue Jays, according to MLB Network insider Jon Heyman.
Should the Yankees fail to make that splash, they could reunite with Rizzo.
In order to do so, they’ll likely have to compete with other teams, such as the Cubs, who have also reportedly been interested in signing Rizzo, despite trading him to the Bronx last season.
One upside to re-signing Rizzo over taking Freeman in free agency is that a reunion with the 32-year-old would likely cost far less than taking Freeman, and allow the team to spend money on upgrades elsewhere in their roster.