Yankees: Aaron Boone’s comments hinting at Anthony Rizzo extension?
By Adam Weinrib
Many New York Yankees fans were ready to ink Anthony Rizzo to a longer-term contract prior to the first pitch he’d ever seen in the uniform.
After one weekend, you can change that “many” to “the vast majority” — and he hasn’t even worn the pinstripes yet.
It’s not hyperbole for John Sterling to belt out, “Nobody beats the Riz!” right now. After all, the Yankees just swept the Marlins in Rizzo’s first series with the team, and each of the three victories had his imprint all over them. Tiebreaking homer in Game 1 (a 0-0 deadlock), insurance run dinger in Game 2, game-tying single in the eighth in Game 3 (with defense to boot).
Despite Cubs fans tweeting blasé videos of Rizzo in the dugout to claim he “looks bored,” we’d argue he already seems quite at home. Aaron Boone seems to agree.
After Saturday’s victory, Boone’s assessment of Rizzo’s impact made it seem like the first baseman just might stick around a bit longer than anticipated.
If Luke Voit wasn’t on high alert prior to the weekend (he definitely was), it looks like he might have to get used to DHing or look up how to protect himself from Minnesota weather.
Did Aaron Boone hint at the Yankees extending Anthony Rizzo?
Don’t let three games cloud your judgment of the long-term plan, but Rizzo certainly feels essential already, providing patience, defense, and left-handed pop in the middle of the lineup.
Though his homers were prodigious, Rizzo’s at-bat with runners on the corners in the eighth inning, down 1-0, was perhaps even more endemic of what he provides. Knowing exactly what type of business he needed to handle, he calmly went with the pitch from lefty specialist Richard Bleier (who had nearly become a Yankee a few days prior!), sending a line-drive single into left as if he were polishing off a test he’d studied for for decades. Game tied, job done.
When the Yankees traded for Rizzo (before the Red Sox could) on Thursday, we immediately tried to justify a potential long-term fit, but could’t quite do it. After all, if Brian Cashman plans to add a high-priced shortstop this offseason, he’ll have to jettison one of Luke Voit, Gio Urshela or Gleyber Torres. If a Rizzo deal is looming, he’ll likely have to dump Voit and one of the other two if he’d like to also pay Corey Seager or Carlos Correa.
But … would that be so bad?
The optimized version of this Yankees lineup, with their current crew, involves Giancarlo Stanton in left field and Luke Voit as the semi-permanent DH as he works his way back to health. A long-term pact with a constantly-rehabbing Voit seems unlikely, but if Stanton’s willing to play the outfield … 70% of the time, all three sluggers can play for this club.
If not, though, New York has to seriously consider inking Rizzo and biting the bullet on a sell-low Voit trade after the season ends. It all depends on how long this re-invigoration lasts.
It’s only been three games. We’re still taking deep breaths here. Things have almost been too perfect thus far.