ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Yankees are attempting to trade their way into October.
On the same day they officially announced the Joey Gallo trade with the Rangers, the Yankees reached a deal for another lefthanded, power-hitting bat, acquiring first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs
The Yankees sent outfield prospect Kevin Alcantara and Alex Vizcaino to the Cubs.
The move adds yet another power lefty to a righty-heavy lineup and likely spells the end of Luke Voit’s career in pinstripes. The Yankees, who after getting the Rangers to pay the remainder of Gallo’s 2021 salary, were able to get the Cubs to do the same for Rizzo. The Yankees are still attempting to shed payroll to come in under the $210-million luxury tax threshold. That was the primary motivation behind the two-player deal earlier in the week that saw Luis Cessa and Justin Wilson, the latter due to make $4 million this season, sent to the Reds for a player to be named. Voit is due to make $4.7 million, increasing the likelihood he is dealt.
Though Voit led all of the majors in homers during last year’s 60-game COVID-19-shortened season with 22, Rizzo is a superior defender having won four NL Gold Gloves. Rizzo has also been far more durable than Voit, currently on the IL with left knee inflammation, though the plan was to activate him at some point this weekend in Miami for the series against the Marlins.
Rizzo, 31, averaged 153 games per season from 2013-19.
Rizzo, also a three-time All-Star who has twice finished fourth in NL MVP voting and known for his plate discipline and relatively low strikeout ratio – making him a unicorn in the current Yankees lineup – is hitting .248 this season with 14 homers and a .792 OPS in 92 games. He is hitting .364 with three homers and a 1.280 OPS in his last six games. Rizzo, a free agent after this season, helped the Cubs win the 2016 World Series, which broke the franchise’s 108-year title drought.
Speaking to NBC Sports Chicago earlier this week, Rizzo said he wasn’t paying attention to the rumors surrounding him in advance of Friday’s 4 p.m. deadline.
"Whatever happens is out of my control right now," he told the network. "To speculate I'm going to go here or I'm going to go there, that's playing the child game on our end."
Rizzo, in the final year of a nine-year, $75 million deal, added later as he spoke at Wrigley Field: "This place is special. If [I’m traded], I'll deal with it. But as of right now, I plan on being a Cub for the rest of my career."
Instead, it's next stop the Bronx.