Yankees Acquire Anthony Rizzo from Cubs

Anthony Rizzo

The New York Yankees made a major move Thursday to acquire star first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs. In return, the Cubs received two minor leaguers: right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino and outfielder Kevin Alcantara. The Yankees require help at first base, and Rizzo’s offensive presence will lift the spirits of his new teammates. Since the acquisition, Rizzo and the Yankees completed a three-game series sweep over the Miami Marlins.

Yankees Acquire Anthony Rizzo

The Anthony Rizzo trade constituted part of a big splash the Yankees made ahead of Friday’s trade deadline. Other notable moves included power-hitting outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers and lefty starter Andrew Heaney from the Los Angeles Angels. On Thursday, Rizzo had an emotional exit from Wrigley Field but expressed his excitement at joining the Bombers. “All good things come to an end,” he said. “To be able to go to another historic franchise like the Yankees, it’s unbelievable.” Rizzo hinted that his stint with the Yankees is probably limited, as he is a free agent after this season. “It’s going to be an exceptional opportunity for me these next three months. I’m just going to enjoy it all,” he said.

Rizzo, a three-time All-Star, has struggled at the plate the last two years, at least by his standards. In 2021, he is slashing .248/.346/.446, with 14 homers and 40 RBI. While these are all modest improvements over his 2020 numbers, his slash line remains below his career figures (.269/.370/.483). However, with the Yankees firmly in the AL wild-card hunt, Rizzo’s bat may wake up by playing meaningful games again. Furthermore, the four-time Gold Glover should provide outstanding defense at first base for the Yankees.

While exciting for Yankees fans, the deal does result in uncertainty for the status of Luke Voit moving forward. Voit, who led the majors in homers (22) in 2020, has struggled with injuries all season, only appearing in 29 games. It was thought that the ex-Cub would be moved Friday in the wake of Rizzo’s acquisition, but he remained in New York. Once he returns, a platoon with Rizzo is possible, but Rizzo will likely get most of the starts and at-bats going forward.

Cubs Get Prospects For Rebuild

Righty Alexander Vizcaino has pitched at both the Rookie-level and High-A Hudson Valley in 2021 but has only made six appearances thus far. For his minor league career, he has a 4.95 ERA, and 268 strikeouts in 265.1 innings pitched since 2016.  Outfielder Kevin Alcantara is hitting .360 with a .968 OPS in 8 games with the Rookie-level Yankees affiliate. According to MLB.com, Vizcaino and Alcantara are now the Cubs’ #8 and #11 prospects, respectively. The Cubs are entering rebuild mode in the wake of a rough stretch this season and the impending free agency of several stars. The offloading of Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and Rizzo marks the end of an era highlighted by a long-awaited championship. The Cubs will hope the return of young prospects such as Vizcaino and Alcantara eventually results in renewed success.

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