We’re a little over three weeks into Anthony Rizzo’s tenure as a Yankee, and his acquisition is one the Yankees’ organization would do all over again if they had the chance (and they’d do it with full support of the Yankee fan base as well). Since making his debut with the Yankees on July 30th, Rizzo has posted a 127 OPS+ and shown his glove is as good as the reputation that preceded it. Additionally, regardless of whether or not you believe in clutch, several of his hits have come in crucial situations in games that eventually became Yankee wins, making him an instant fan favorite.
Due to underwhelming play from some players, and recurring injuries to Luke Voit, the lack of production from first basemen had been a serious problem for the Yankees until July 30th. The Yankees' lack of run-scoring, in general, was a problem, and it’s really hard to be a good offensive team when you’re not getting significant production from your first basemen. Rizzo’s presence certainly isn’t the only factor that the Yankees are 11-1 in games he’s played and 18-6 overall since his arrival, but he certainly has been a significant contributor to their recent turnaround.
Another aspect of Rizzo’s presence on the Yankees to weigh is that he’s not on the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox, despite being in first place on July 30th, were similarly not getting production from their first baseman in 2021. It was widely and frequently reported in July both locally and nationally that the Red Sox were interested in Rizzo. ESPN insider Buster Olney predicted as late as July 26th that Rizzo would end up calling Fenway Park his home for the remainder of 2021.
Since Rizzo ended up in pinstripes, Boston has continued to use Kevin Plawecki, Franchy Cordero, Bobby Dalbec, Marwin Gonzalez, and Travis Shaw at first base. Due respect to all players who reach the Major Leagues, but none of those players are reminding Boston fans of Mo Vaughn, to put it mildly. The Red Sox, who were in first place on the day of the trade deadline, have gone 7-15 since (including 0-3 against New York) and are currently seven games out of first and tied for the second Wild Card spot.