The lowdown on FA 1B Anthony Rizzo

November 9th, 2022

When 23-year-old Anthony Rizzo agreed to a seven-year, $41 million contract extension with the Cubs in 2013, the deal included a slew of options and escalators in the hopes that the left-handed-hitting first baseman would blossom into an All-Star and lead Chicago to its first World Series title in over 100 years. He did exactly that before being traded to the Yankees for the 2021 stretch run.

New York re-signed Rizzo last offseason to a two-year, $32 million contract with an opt-out after the first year. The 33-year-old slugger posted an .817 OPS with 32 homers in his first full season with the Yankees and will likely attract several potential suitors as a free agent after opting out of his contract.

Here’s what you need to know about Rizzo:

Birthdate: Aug. 8, 1989 (Age 33 in 2023)
Primary position: 1B
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 240 lbs.
Bats/throws: Left/left
Place of birth: Parkland, Fla.
School: Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS (Fla.)
Drafted: Sixth round, 2007, by Red Sox
MLB debut: June 9, 2011
Qualifying offer: Received one

2022: .224/.338/.480 (131 OPS+), 32 HR, 2.3 WAR* in 130 G
Career: .265/.366/.481 (127 OPS+), 283 HR, 39.1 WAR* in 1,536 G
*Per Baseball-Reference

Rizzo's 2022 campaign at the plate was his finest since '19, when he was still with the Cubs. His 32 homers last season were his most since '17 (also 32). His 10.9% barrel rate was the highest he's registered since Statcast began tracking in 2015.

Will Rizzo’s back become a bigger issue? The slugger displayed tremendous durability and collected numerous pieces of hardware in his 20s but has begun to show signs of the wear and tear associated with more than 1,500 regular-season and playoff games. He appeared in 130 games this season for the Yankees, again missing some time due to back issues as well as migraine headaches.

He’s in good company
Rizzo is among this era’s most productive first basemen, trailing only Paul Goldschmidt and Freddie Freeman on FanGraphs’ WAR leaderboard since he signed his initial extension over nine years ago.

His managerial record is pristine and historic
On Sept. 28, 2022, Aaron Judge launched his 61st home run of the season to tie the AL single-season record held by Roger Maris. Judge, who would set a new record with his 62nd homer the next week, had a different manager than he was used to on the day No. 61 left the park -- Rizzo was named "acting manager" for the day by manager Aaron Boone. Not only did Judge make history that day, but the Yankees also won.

He has a memorable 0.00 ERA
Rizzo had been begging to pitch until he finally got his opportunity in 2018, coaxing AJ Pollock into an out before stepping off the mound and “retiring” with a spotless record.

Three years later, Rizzo put his perfect ERA on the line when he called out his good friend and perennial All-Star “Frederick” Freeman and toed the slab once again. The result? One of the funniest moments and coolest strikeouts of the entire 2021 season.

He’s more than an athlete
A Roberto Clemente Award winner in 2017, and MLBPAA Heart & Hustle Award winner in 2015, Rizzo started the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation in 2012, less than five years after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The foundation has donated millions to hospitals in the Chicago and South Florida areas as well as assisted with fundraising throughout the years for a variety of causes.