With all the recent Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson chatter, New York Yankees fans may have forgotten about Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit, both of whom are above-average starting first basemen.
Unfortunately, when the discussion is focused on superstar upgrades, others get pushed into the background, and there’s no doubting Freeman or Olson would make Rizzo and Voit footnotes in this conversation.
We can expect Voit to be traded shortly after the lockout. He’s owed $5.4 million and the Yankees already attempted to move him at last year’s deadline. He won’t be accepting a backup role after all he’s accomplished as a starter, either, and it’s likely he and the team are on the same page.
As for Rizzo, though, he was always considered a viable Plan C in this whole first base debate, but it was unclear how long he’d last on the open market since he’s no slouch. Rizzo is still a Gold Glove-caliber defender and pesky lefty slugger that can start on most teams.
Yankees fans would be more than satisfied with Rizzo as their guy, as long as other necessary upgrades are made, whether that be at shortstop, third base, center field or the starting rotation.
However, it’s also not a bad thing that there’s another team eyeing Rizzo, because that might force the Yankees to shift their focus to Freeman or Olson, which would ensure an All-Star-caliber upgrade rather than maintaining the status quo.
The Cubs’ interest in Anthony Rizzo can actually help the Yankees.
According to reports, the Chicago Cubs have internally discussed bringing Rizzo back after trading him to New York six months ago. Chicago has just $109 million committed to their 2022 payroll after making pre-lockout upgrades in Marcus Stroman and Wade Miley, so there’s much more flexibility there.
The one thing we do know? The Yankees will NOT be getting in any sort of bidding war for Rizzo. Though it seems like he’s being treated like a second-class citizen, as if he’ll be hanging around post-lockout begging for a job, that won’t be the case. And the Yankees aren’t going to waste their time when they know better options and other worthwhile bidding wars exist.
Outside factors giving the Yankees little choice but to make the roster moves the fans prefer? We like that, don’t we?
It’s unclear what Rizzo might make on his next deal, but it’s been previously speculated that it could be in the $14-$17 million AAV range. If the Cubs are serious about a reunion and making good by their franchise legend after securing him to a seven-year, $41 million contract way back when, then there’s no doubt the Yankees should remove themselves and secure a better prize for a price that might not be that much more prohibitive.
The market competition for Freeman and Olson already is what it is. Freeman reportedly wants $180 million over six years and Olson is going to cost a number of top prospects in a trade. It’s hard to imagine those asking prices exponentially increasing, which is why if Rizzo’s market begins to balloon, the Yankees should stay the course with the premier first base options.