Report: Yankees pull off stunning trade for Cubs star Anthony Rizzo

·3 min read

In a trade deadline surprise, the New York Yankees are moving toward a deal for Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo. YES Network's Jack Curry first reported the development.

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Curry reports the Yankees will send two prospects, right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino and outfielder Kevin Alcantara, to the Cubs in return. As the Yankees try to avoid the luxury tax threshold, he also reports that the Cubs will cover Rizzo's salary.

This latest lineup infusion comes a day after the Yankees traded prospects for Rangers slugger Joey Gallo. A stagnant offense has held back the Bronx Bombers, who are currently in third place in the AL East and trailing the Oakland A's for the second AL wild card spot.

The heart and soul of the recent Cubs teams, Rizzo saw his career take off in Chicago when he came over in a trade in 2012.

A picture of durability and consistency, the 31-year-old Rizzo has played at least 140 games in every full season since 2013 (and only missed two team games in the shortened 2020 season). He’s hit 25 or more homers six times and stands a good chance at reaching that again in 2021, plus he’s a four-time Gold Glove winner at first base.

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo sits on the bench during a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Anthony Rizzo did not start in his last game with the Cubs on Thursday. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Like Gallo, Rizzo is left-handed. The duo transforms a Yankees lineup that has been criticized for being one-dimensional. Rizzo, though, is a particular departure from the Yankees' current lineup. His 15.8% career strikeout rate — which mirrors his 2021 output — is among the lowest in the league for players with his power. Since 2017, he has bashed 109 homers and struck out only 13.6% of the time. Only two players who have hit 100 or more homers have a lower K rate over that time.

The deal does create the likelihood of more moves for the Yankees. Luke Voit, their former starting first baseman who is on the injured list, seems likely to be a trade candidate himself now. The Boston Red Sox were also rumored as a potential destination for Rizzo. Instead, the Yankees are making a bold statement about their intention to overcome a rough first half and claw their way into October.

This season is the final year of a 9-year extension Rizzo signed with the Cubs prior to 2013. The Cubs were rumored to be discussing another extension to keep Rizzo in Chicago before striking the deal. 

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Now he is headed out of town, the most dramatic sign yet of a changing of the guard in Chicago. With Kris Bryant also surfacing in trade rumors, the Cubs appear intent on dismantling the core that won the World Series in 2016.

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