The Yankees checked off one of their biggest priorities outside of re-signing Aaron Judge by bringing back Anthony Rizzo. While it wasn’t a surprising move, it makes a ton of sense for both sides.
Rizzo signed a 2-year, $34 million deal with a club option for a third year that has a $6 million buyout. If the Yankees pick up the option, Rizzo will make $17 million in year three, just like the first two years of the deal.
Rizzo had just declined the qualifying offer, which is a one-year $19.65 million deal. When taking this into account, the deal the two parties eventually agreed to makes sense for everyone. Rizzo guarantees more money and a place to play for at least two seasons, while the average annual value of $17 million gives the Yankees a lower hit on the luxury tax payroll. Given that Rizzo loves playing in New York as much as he does, it makes a ton of sense to see him back in the fold.
“I love being a Yankee.” – Anthony Rizzo
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) November 16, 2022
One of the big topics with Rizzo’s return is that he is potentially one of the biggest beneficiaries of the shift being banned in 2023. We won’t know for sure until the games are played, but Rizzo pulled the ball 55% of the time in 2022 and was shifted in 86% of his plate appearances. Those are both among the highest percentages in the league, so there is some hope that Rizzo’s average could increase.
Some fans have speculated that Rizzo re-signing must mean that he believes Judge will return. However, while Judge and Rizzo are very close, Judge likely isn’t going to make a decision with this much money on the line based on friendships. It certainly doesn’t hurt though, and with the San Francisco Giants bringing back outfielder Joc Pederson, there is reason for optimism regarding a Judge return
Another reason for optimism comes from Hal Steinbrenner. He has been more public and outspoken regarding the team’s approach for the offseason. He had said that the organization feels it will be able to re-sign Judge, and make other additions to make the team championship caliber.
Klap: “Steinbrenner says he’s got enough money for both Judge and whoever else it takes to turn the Yankees into world champs.”
— MichiganYankees☃️🕎 (@MichiganYankees) November 16, 2022
While actions speak louder than words, he hasn’t been this adamant before. It’s not a guarantee, but maybe the Yankees will spend more than fans expect this offseason. The team has been connected to other top free agents like Brandon Nimmo, Carlos Correa, Trea Turner and Xander Bogaerts. Will anything come to fruition? Only time will tell, but maybe there is some room for optimism in that regard for Yankees fans.
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