Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees are in first place, and fairly comfortably! The Bronx Bombers are 12-4, the best team in baseball, and hold a 2.5 game lead over second-place Baltimore in the AL East.

And yet, on this lovely Monday morning in New York City, Yankees fans on social media are back to their usual one-track mind. We’ll sum it up in one statement from Jomboy:

For context, New York blew a 7-5 lead in extra innings in Cleveland on Sunday. It cost the Yankees the series sweep, though they did sweep the Saturday doubleheader. The two errors on Sunday had no overall effect on the game, but there should be an underlying concern.

These two seemingly insignificant errors were committed by four-time Gold Glove first baseman Anthony Rizzo. Sure, Gleyber Torres’ delayed grip a hard grounder with the infield in cost the Yankees the game, but we know he’s a generally good second baseman. It’s no secret that he’s prone to the occasional flub and/or mental mistake in the field.

But with Anthony Rizzo? People often notice when a player’s glove starts to vanish. So much that’s Max Goodman pointed out how few errors Rizzo has committed in recent years:

Not exactly a great look, especially considering Rizzo spent a good two months playing with a concussion last year. He at least looks like himself with the bat again. It was Rizzo’s two-run single that gave the Yankees the lead in extra innings on Sunday. He’s batting .274 with a home run and seven RBI this young season.

But who is Anthony Rizzo, captain Aaron Judge’s loyal first mate, without that smooth glove at first? Is his timing just slower after the concussion? Or is he just a year older at age 34?

Per usual, the numbers have our answer. The die-hards don’t want to hear it, but Rizzo’s fielding hasn’t been great for a few years now. It doesn’t quite make sense either, but we have the eye test and recency bias guiding us. Forget that his defensive runs saved (DRS) don’t match his outs above average (OAA). The once-reliable glove of Anthony Rizzo is on the decline.

Look at his work in the field since 2021, the year the Yankees acquired him from the Chicago Cubs. Rizzo’s DRS from then until now is an unimpressive -9. His OAA, on the other hand, is +10 and his Fielding Run Value (FRV) is +6. He’s basically a reverse Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who had a +10 DRS but a -2 OAA and -1 FRV playing shortstop for the Yankees in 2022.

But don’t get any ideas about Anthony Rizzo getting benched, or his expiring contract getting traded. The only real solution would be sticking DJ LeMahieu at first base, but that’s the super-utility man’s weakest position. There are no clear-cut options at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, and neither T.J. Rumfeld nor Ben Rice is ready to move up from Double-A Somerset.

Let’s also remember, it’s only April 15. More importantly, the Yankee are in first place! Anthony Rizzo making more errors than usual won’t tank the season. If it becomes a problem, maybe general manager Brian Cashman swings a trade for Arizona’s Christian Walker, a two-time Gold Glove winner on an expiring contract.

Until then, expect Rizzo to stick around for the entire season.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.