In a move that did not surprise anyone, New York Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo opted out of his deal to become a free agent. At least one source believes that the veteran first baseman could be a fit for the SF Giants.
Potential SF Giants first base target becomes a free agent
Last winter, Rizzo signed a one-year, $16 million pact to remain with New York. This included a $16 million player option for 2023 that Rizzo declined to exercise, thereby becoming a free agent. The Yankees have already notified that the power hitter will be receiving a $19.65 million qualifying offer.
Rizzo will reject the qualifying offer and the Yankees will receive a comensatory pick should he sign elsewhere. Is the 33-year-old first baseman a legitimate target for the Giants? Randy Miller of NJ.Com seems to believe so.
Miller stoked the offseason flames last month when he said that the Giants plan to spend aggressively to bring Yankees star Aaron Judge home. However, that was not the only name Miller mentioned. Miller added that the Giants would be interested in Rizzo as well. In fact, he added that signing Rizzo could entice Judge to join San Francisco as well.
The Judge rumors are for a different day. Rizzo is coming off of a strong season with the Yankees where he slashed .224/.338/.480 (131 OPS+) with 32 home runs, 75 RBI, and 77 runs in 548 plate appearances. This includes a 10.6 percent walk rate against an 18.4 percent strikeout rate.
The 11-year veteran has a knack for reaching base in a painful way as he was hit 23 times in 2022. This is not a new trend for Rizzo. He has led baseball in getting hit be a pitch three times in his career.
Rizzo's registered a combined 109 OPS+ in the two seasons leading up to this one, so his numbers were beginning to slide. However, his 2022 campaign was a resurgent performance.
The 33-year-old is looking for one more payday. Are the Giants the type of team to give him one? It is certainly possible. That said, San Francisco needs to get younger and more athletic, so signing Rizzo would not help in achieving either end.
Still, he remains a threat at the plate, so San Francisco will kick the tires at the very least. Longtime first baseman Brandon Belt is a free agent as well, but it feels like the organization is ready to move on after an injury-plagued season. Perhaps, the Giants and Rizzo could match up for a deal, especially if it helps bring his power-hitting teammate to the Bay Area.