Could Anthony Rizzo become a Houston Astro? MLB free-agent rumors
With MLB sources reporting that the Houston Astros are naming Anthony Rizzo as their top target, we look at how likely it is to become reality
Over recent days, we at Diario AS USA have been looking, like all of the MLB press, at the trade rumors and possibilities around the league. With much of the focus on Aaron Judge and the “fabulous four” top-tier shortstops on the market, Anthony Rizzo has been a huge name that has been perhaps under-reported.
Yesterday, we predicted that with Yuli Gurriel entering free agency at 38, the Houston Astros would be a strong contender for Anthony Rizzo’s services. That was based on nothing more than a feel for what each team needs. But today, that feeling has been confirmed.
Ken Rosenthal has reported that it was confirmed to him by the Astros that Anthony Rizzo is their number one target in free agency. His key phrase was this:
“The Astros have identified Anthony Rizzo as their No. 1 free-agent target at first base. They also are considering Yuli Gurriel and José Abreu, but signing Rizzo would serve the dual purpose of bolstering their own roster while weakening the Yankees’”.
While this news was perhaps not unexpected, it is still somewhat shocking to see it confirmed in such an emphatic manner, and directly from the horse’s mouth, so to speak.
Yankee fans have predictably responded with a mix of wonder, disbelief, and venom. It is inconceivable to any Yankees fan that a professional baseball player might consider playing for any other team.
One fan twitter account gleefully reported that Rizzo was staying when the Yankees made their qualifying offer. When questioned by a commenter as to what that was based on, they responded, “The Yankees will pay the qualifying offer. I don’t see any reason why Rizzo would turn that down.”
And that is the problem in a nutshell. The Yankees are so focused on why players should want to stay in the Bronx that they are forgetting that these players are professionals. Anthony Rizzo is worth more than $19.65 million. That is just a fact.
Many Yankee fans are expressing horror that Rizzo could even consider Houston, swirling up that tired old “but they are cheaters!” routine, ignoring the fact that the Yankees did exactly the same thing two years prior, but with far less success. It is an argument hardly worthy of response.
So leaving fan indignation behind, what are the chances that Rizzo will actually end up playing in an orange jersey? Pretty good, if we are honest.
The Astros have just seen their first baseman go into free agency. Yuli Gurriel is a solid hitter and a fabulous backstop on the bag, but he is 38 years old. They will be looking for a like-for-like trade with fewer miles on the odometer. Rizzo offers them that.
Money will not be an issue to the Astros. They have just won the World Series and have been sniffing around the game for six years now. No matter what you may believe, championship teams make big money. The team is valued at a shade under $2 billion and Jim Crane has been canny in his dealing. They can afford Rizzo.
But it is not all doom and gloom for the pinstripes. The Yankees are in pole position in this race, to be sure. Rizzo may or may not want to stay in New York, but it is always easier to stay where you are than to uproot your family. But that doesn’t mean that he will stay for free.
If the Yankees want to keep him, they will need to match anything that Houston, or any other team for that matter, throws up. And they have famously deep pockets. They can afford to do that. Whether they have the will to do it remains to be seen. So far, Steinbrenner has been so singularly focused on keeping Aaron Judge in-house that he has let everything else slip by.
At the end of free agency, if Anthony Rizzo is not wearing pinstripes, it will not be down to some other team poaching him. It will be because the Yankees let him go.
To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?