July 21, 2024

The New York Yankees have obvious requirements to shore up their squad for a deep postseason run. Anthony Rizzo’s troubles have highlighted the need for an improvement at first base. Rizzo was benched on June 9 and 10. Chris Kirschner of The Athletic stated that trading for Miami Marlins’ Josh Bell might “make sense” to upgrade at first base.

Rizzo is hitting.220/.279/.332 this season. His advanced stats likewise provide no indication of an impending turnaround.

“Teams in this age of advanced data often justify a hitter’s poor performance by citing underlying hard-hit metrics that indicate better days might lie ahead,” Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic noted. “The Yankees cannot make that case with Rizzo. From bat speed to exit velocity to chase percentage, his Baseball Savant profile is a cyclone of pessimism, with one metric after another ranking in the worst 20% of the league.”

Rizzo agreed to a two-year, $40 million contract with the Yankees in 2022. Bell was an All-Star in 2019 and received the Silver Slugger in 2022.

Bell An Upgrade for Rizzo

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo on IL with 'likely' concussion, injury traced to  collision two months earlier - CBSSports.com

The Marlins acquired Bell at the deadline last season. In 53 games with the Marlins in 2023, he had an OPS of.818. He is not as good this season, but he is still performing well. He has.707 OPS and seven home runs.

The Marlins will undoubtedly have a large number of players available at the deadline. They have the National League’s poorest record, 23-43.

The Marlins have already stated their intentions regarding the trade deadline. With the deadline still a ways off, the Marlins moved two-time All-Star and batting champion Luis Arraez to the San Diego Padres.

When asked about dealing an established player for players with promise, Marlins president of baseball operations Peter Bendix explained the club’s thinking.

“It’s part of the player’s value for the rest of the season when, unfortunately, our record is what it is and the fact is that we’re unlikely to make the playoffs this year,” Bendix told Jordan McPherson of the Miami Herald. “Trading that for future value seems like the right thing for this organization right now.”

Bell might be a rental option for the Yankees in 2024. He activated his player option for 2024 and will become a free agent in 2025. Rizzo has a $6 million buyout after this season, with a $17 million club option.

Rizzo’s Future With the Yankees

Rizzo’s future depends not just on his performance, but also on the Yankees’ payroll problems and pursuit of Juan Soto.

Owner Hal Steinbrenner called the Yankees’ $300 million payroll as “not sustainable” during the owners meetings on May 22.

“I’m gonna be honest, payrolls at the levels we’re at right now are simply not sustainable for us financially,” Steinbrenner remarked, according to the New York Post. “It wouldn’t be sustainable for the vast majority of ownership [groups], given the luxury tax we have to pay.”

Rizzo may be a casualty in the chase of Soto if the club also wants to cut money. If Steinbrenner had not been worried with the $300 million salary, the Yankees could have paid everyone.

“Because the Yankees appear to be committed to saving money wherever they can, Rizzo may become a casualty of the team’s Soto pursuit,” wrote The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner while breaking down the Yankees’ budget.

 

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