It feels like forever ago that Yankees fans had resigned themselves to impact bat and stud first baseman Mark Teixeira winding up with the Boston Red Sox on a beefy free agent contract … only to see the Yanks splurge instead, right in the nick of time.
Don’t look now, but the Yankees seem to have picked Boston’s pocket again in the same department.
After all, that’s the type of leadership move you make when you’re running away with the AL East a year or two ahead of schedule to cement your chances of taking home the trophy.
While fans in the Bronx girded themselves for pitching, Trevor Story, or perhaps more disappointment, Brian Cashman was apparently working on something far wilder.
Anthony Rizzo … welcome to New York! What?!
The Yankees are trading for Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo.
Rizzo, in the midst of a “down year” that would still make him among the Yankees’ best performers, holds a 116 OPS+ and 14 homers in 92 games. The numbers in the portfolio are all there from previous seasons, though. Gold Glove defense. Never an OPS+ below 124 in a full season between 2014-2019. The leadership. The lefty pop. The short porch, which is calling so loud and begging to be put on speaker phone right now.
And the Yankees likely aren’t done.
Though Rizzo’s deal only lasts through 2022, Luke Voit should begin packing his apartment as we speak, surely about to be dealt for pitching in some capacity — or at the very least, salary relief. There will be a controllable first base void on the Yankees roster next year, unless they fall in love with what they see during this brief engagement.
If nothing else, the Yanks have played a significant card in blocking the Red Sox from making the deadline upgrades we all assumed they’d handle. As obviously telegraphed as the Joey Gallo move was, this trade is completely unexpected.
A fire has been lit. Brian Cashman delivered.