Yankees Might ‘Redo’ $17 Million Option for 3-Time All-Star, per Columnist

Brian Cashman

Getty New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman could keep both Anthony Rizzo and Juan Soto, particularly if Rizzo agrees to redo his contract

As the New York Yankees have surged to a first-place standing in the American League East behind the bat of offseason trade addition Juan Soto, principal owner Hal Steinbrenner has spoken out about his interest in negotiating a long-term deal with Soto as well as his concerns over the team’s financial sustainability.

But if the Yankees simultaneously offer a $500 million contract to Soto as expected and look to reduce this season’s $314 million payroll, other players will have to be pushed off the books or negotiated into smaller deals. And one of those players could be three-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glover and former Silver Slugger Anthony Rizzo. 

“There’s potential for the Yankees to shed roughly $106.8 million from their payroll entering this offseason, with losses to free agency and non-tenders,” Yankees columnist Pete Caldera reported for NorthJersey.com. “Anthony Rizzo has a 2025 club option for $17 million, and a $6 million buyout. Given those figures and his clubhouse popularity, perhaps Rizzo and the Yankees redo that contract this winter, assuming the first baseman is coming off a healthy and productive 2024.”

The New York Yankees Will Have to Define ‘Productive’ for Anthony Rizzo

Several members of the Yankees roster seem poised for new homes after this season if the front office pursues a long-term deal with Soto. Second baseman Gleyber Torres, outfielder Alex Verdugo and pitcher Tommy Kahnle are all poised for free agency and could move on in favor of cheaper options.

Rizzo could be out as well if the team doesn’t want to pick up his option and it’s an open question whether or not he is having a “productive” season thus far. He has been healthy, and in 191 at bats he has slashed .257/.321/.393 with seven homers and 23 RBI. 

That is much less production than he saw in his best years, like a .292/.385/.544 campaign that earned him an All-Star nod, Gold Glove Award and Silver Slugger Award, plus MVP Award votes. But his .713 OPS so far this season is good enough to rank fifth among first basemen in the American League.

The New York Yankees Might Move on From Anthony Rizzo After This Season

If the team does not pick up or renegotiate the club option on Rizzo’s contract, the team has some other options at first base.

“My expectation has been that the Yankees might shift (DJ) LeMahieu to first base full-time next season and look in the offseason to upgrade at third base,” Brendan Kuty wrote for The Athletic. “If the Yankees think saving money at first base and shifting it to Soto is a bigger priority, then all bets are off.”

However, Rizzo does have at least one thing going for the continuation of his Yankees tenure: there could be a lack of compelling infield talent on the market to replace him with.

“But the options there don’t seem like they’ll be all that exciting,” Kuty added. “And if Rizzo continues to hit … it’s totally possible the Yankees would look to pick up his option. He’ll play next season at age 35 — a year younger than LeMahieu.”

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