Anthony Rizzo
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

You wanted a left-handed bat? Brian Cashman just got you two!

Tab Bamford

The New York Yankees have acquired first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Chicago Cubs for two prospects.

I’m going to open this piece by saying, as a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, this is heartbreaking to write. It was expected, but that doesn’t make it easier to digest.

What are the Yankees getting in Anthony Rizzo?

Well, let’s look at his current season. Rizzo, who turns 32 on Aug. 8, is not having his best season at the plate. In 91 games thus far (376 plate appearances), Rizzo is slashing .248/.346/.446 with 14 homers and 40 RBI. He’s a 1.3 WAR player right now according to Baseball Reference.

Rizzo, in addition to Joey Gallo, gives the Yankees two legitimate middle-of-the-lineup left-handed bats — something the Yankees were desperately lacking.

Let’s back up from the 2021 regular season, however.

Rizzo is an exceptional defensive first baseman. He has won four Gold Glove Awards and one Platinum Glove Award. He’s a three-time all-star who has also won a Silver Slugger at first base in the National League.

But Rizzo is more than numbers

Rizzo was one of the centerpieces of the Chicago Cubs’ first World Series championship in 108 years in 2016. He has been a huge part of the Cubs since he arrived via trade from the Padres before the 2012 season.

Frankly, he should have had a C on the chest of the jersey in the photo on this story for the last half decade… at least. He has been the captain of the Chicago Cubs, even if the organization didn’t formally give him the title.

In 2017, Rizzo won the Roberto Clemente Award. A cancer survivor, Rizzo’s foundation has helped hundreds of families dealing with pediatric cancer in Chicago and around the country.

Having spoken with him dozens of times in the clubhouse and on the field over the years, Rizzo was always an honest interview. He was sincere about his struggles, he never avoided a postgame presser and he said things into microphones he hopes his teammates would hear.

There may have been players who were equally incredible ambassadors of the game over the past decade, but there isn’t a player in the league who has had as much fun, conducted himself with as much class and been as good on the field as Anthony Rizzo.

The Yankees just got a leader in Anthony Rizzo. He’ll help them on the field, but New York just added a world class human being as well.