The New York Yankees are bringing back Anthony Rizzo on a two-year, $32 million deal, according to reports late Tuesday night.
His signing settles the search for New York’s first baseman while also providing a much-needed left-handed bat in a right-handed heavy lineup. The Yankees had been linked to free-agent Freddie Freeman, who will not be returning to the Atlanta Braves after they acquired Matt Olson from the Oakland Athletics on Monday.
Rizzo, a three-time All-Star, was acquired by the Yankees at the trade deadline last season from the Chicago Cubs — the organization he spent nine-plus seasons with. He was a fixture in their World Series-winning team in 2016 that broke a 108-year championship drought, the highlight of a six-year stretch from 2014-2019 in which he batted .284, posted a .901 OPS, and averaged 30 home runs and 99 RBI per season.
With the Cubs in the middle of a rebuild, he was sent to New York where he batted .249 with a .768 OPS, eight home runs, and 21 RBI in 49 games.
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Recent production suggests that the 32-year-old is on the wrong side of his prime playing days, but a left-handed bat in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium should see plenty of production — especially with a lineup that boasts the protection of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.
Rizzo’s return will shake up the Yankees’ fielding tactics further after acquiring Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa from the Minnesota Twins for Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshela on Monday.
With Rizzo at first, Gleyber Torres making the move from shortstop to second base, Kiner-Falefa at short, and Donaldson at third base, veteran DJ LeMahieu — still one of the best natural hitters in the American League — will likely bounce around between first, second, and third base to ensure he gets enough at-bats in 2022.