Anthony Rizzo Reportedly Traded to Yankees from Cubs for 2 Prospects


Anthony Rizzo Reportedly Traded to Yankees from Cubs for 2 Prospects
Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The heart and soul of the Chicago Cubs reportedly won't be with the team much longer.

Per Jack Curry of YES Network, the New York Yankees are close to acquiring first baseman Anthony Rizzo.

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal confirmed the Cubs are sending Rizzo to the Bronx. 

Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal

Cubs have informed Rizzo of trade to Yankees, sources tell @TheAthletic.

Curry added the Cubs will receive outfielder Kevin Alcantara and right-handed pitcher Alexander Vizcaino in the deal. Chicago, per Curry, will also pick up the remainder of Rizzo's contract, which Joel Sherman of the New York Post pointed out is key:

Joel Sherman @Joelsherman1

For luxury tax purposes, Rizzo has about $5.5M left this year. The #Yankees have worked to stay under the $210M luxury tax. That will be impossible unless the Cubs took some or all of the salary or took back a contract.

This comes after the Cubs exercised their club option in the 31-year-old's contract worth $16.5 million for 2021. It was a notable move considering the team is facing plenty of financial uncertainty with its roster in the near future.

Jordan Bastian of MLB.com noted at the time that Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber and Rizzo were all set for free agency following the 2021 campaign, while Willson Contreras would be under team control through the 2022 season. That is a massive part of the core that brought the Cubs one of their most successful stretches in franchise history, and the team already non-tendered Schwarber and lost him to free agency.

"The only thing I can acknowledge is that we're in a period of great uncertainty," Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein, who has since resigned, said at the end of the 2020 season, per Bastian. "That's industry-wide."

This is still a shocking move considering everything Rizzo has meant to the organization.

Chicago traded for him in 2012, and he became the central piece of the group that reached the National League Championship Series in 2015 and 2017 and snapped a 108-year drought with a World Series championship in 2016.

The first baseman is a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glover who finished in the top 20 in MVP voting five straight years from 2014 through 2018.

While he wasn't as effective in the 60-game 2020 season, he still won a Gold Glove while helping the team to a division crown with a .222/.342/.414 slash line, 11 home runs and 24 RBI.

He has followed with .248/.346/.446 slash line and 14 homers in 92 games so far in 2021.

Rizzo still figures to be in his prime in the immediate future, and the Yankees will be the beneficiary of any bounce-back efforts with this move.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has been putting in work to upgrade the lineup before the trade deadline. 

After New York's acquisition of Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers became official on Thursday, Rizzo will soon follow. 

Rizzo will replace DJ LeMahieu as the Yankees' primary first baseman, while LeMahieu will likely slide back over to his more natural position at second base.

The Yankees, who lost 14-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday, are only three games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card spot.

The addition of Rizzo to a lineup that already includes Gallo, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton certainly makes the Yankees a more formidable group as they chase a postseason berth.