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It's Time For an Anthony Rizzo Benching

By Sal Maiorana

May 29, 2024

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Sal Maiorana, a friend of the site, shares some of his thoughts on the Yankees.


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It's Time For an Anthony Rizzo Benching


Now that DJ LeMahieu is back, it’s time to have a conversation about sitting Anthony Rizzo because he has deteriorated into a below average first basemen.


Rizzo wasn’t the only one to blame for a terrible loss to a terrible team Tuesday night, but he certainly had a starring role and Aaron Boone has to get him out of the lineup, play LeMahieu at first, and live with slumping Oswaldo Cabrera at third for a little while.


With the Yankees ahead 3-2 in the eighth, ex-Yankee Willie Calhoun led off against Luke Weaver with a single, but Weaver got the next two men out and should have had the third. Instead, Rizzo failed to come up with a ground ball to his right hit by super pest Luis Rengifo to keep the inning alive. At first it was ruled an error, which it absolutely 100 percent was, but of course this being MLB, it was changed to a hit which was utter baloney.


Anyway, Boone went to Clay Holmes to face Taylor Ward who is one of the few Angels who is actually a consistent threat, and Holmes blew the save as he served up a two-run go-ahead double.


“The first couple of weeks were pretty brutal, but overall the last five or six weeks, I would say pretty normal,” Rizzo said of his declining fielding as he ranks as barely a league average fielder after spending most of his career as one of the best at his position. “A play like today’s, I’ve got to make it. Just over-slid it and it bounced off my glove. Clay comes in the game and gives up a hit. He should have never been in the game if I make that play. It’s a tough one.”


But much worse than his fielding has been his hitting as he has fallen off a cliff lately. So far in May he’s hitting .227/.296/.307 with a pathetic OPS of .603. Take it back one calendar year to the day he suffered his concussion on May 28, 2023, his OPS is an identical .603 which is the seventh-worst in MLB in that span. Seventh-worst in all of baseball!


In this game, Rizzo grounded out with men on first and second to end the first inning. He struck out with a man on first to end the third. In the fifth, he grounded into a fielders’ choice so he was on base and scored when Austin Wells - who has also been a black hole on offense - lined an RBI double. And then in the eighth he grounded out.


At 35 years old, Rizzo is giving the Yankees nothing on offense, not much on defense, and should not being an every-day player until he shows signs of snapping out of his funk.


Benching him once or twice should be a real consideration.

13 Comments


jjw49
May 30

The Yankees can rotate Rizzo now that LaMahieu is back, but it's appears Rizzo is tentative and unsure of his swing and his defense has suffered, so it looks like this might be his last year in the Bronx. The lingering effects of his concussion have diminished his skill set, that is evident.

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Alan B.
Alan B.
May 29

While I see your point, I cannot see the Yankees sitting Rizzo for a lefty swinger. OK, maybe get Cabrera up to speed playing 1B then? But again, I can't see it. Again I'm looking at it from their POV, not what you or I would do.

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fuster
May 29

Anthony Rizzo's hitting, his fielding, and his general play have been sub-optimal this season.

Rizzo has not been any great burden on the team, however.


the team has been fine, even though Rizzo has been logging more innings than he's merited


he should be given a bit of rest .....even though it means that Cabrera will be required to play 3B

and Cabrera has not hit any better than Rizzo.


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Cary Greene
Cary Greene
May 29

The solution may be to trade with the Rangers for Ezequiel Durán and Josh Smith. Unfortunately, they're worth a combined $29 MTV now though, so scratch that brilliant notion. Maybe trade Gleyber Torres for a reliever and promote Caleb Durbin, then DFA Oswaldo Cabrera and play DJ LeMahieu at third base, then promote TJ Rumfield and platoon him with Rizzo? Jose Rojas is also promotable, in which case, maybe do that and platoon him with LeMahieu at 3b, then platoon LeMahieu and Rizzo at 1B.

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jjw49
May 30
Replying to

Not sure if it is that complicated with replacing Rizzo, but the right side of the infield needs a major upgrade.... 😀

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Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
May 29

I think the time is now to start training Aaron Judge on the finer points of playing 1B. He did take throws at 1B during Spring Training, and in his Freshman year at Fresno State, he did actually play 1B, so the position is no stranger to him. Will Judge be a good defensive 1B? Who knows. He would not be worse than the way Anthony Rizzo has been playing the position LATELY (He USED TO be spectacular at that position!). This is not the time to switch Judge to a new position, as that is something that would be better to work out in Spring Training before the 2025 season. But some of the instruction can take plac…

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Jeff Korell
Jeff Korell
May 29
Replying to

True, and Mookie Betts did successfully transition to the infield, which was actually where he came up as a rookie. I would just like to see Judge play a position in which there is less risk of injury, specifically to the ligament in his toe, and I would also like for an additional outfield spot to open up, so both Jasson Dominguez, and further down the road, Spencer Jones will have a place in the outfield.

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