WFAN host says Anthony Rizzo ‘is finished’ and a ‘fried’ first baseman

Yankees' first baseman Anthony Rizzo reacts after his strike out.
Michael Bennington
Tuesday June 11, 2024

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Once one of baseball’s elite first basemen, Anthony Rizzo is now under scrutiny due to his ongoing struggles at the plate, raising doubts about his place in the New York Yankees’ lineup as the season progresses.

WFAN’s Brandon Tierney voiced his frustration, claiming that Anthony Rizzo was no longer an effective middle-of-the-order hitter and that his defensive skills had also diminished.

“Anthony Rizzo is finished,” Tierney said. “He is fried as a productive, middle-of-the-order player. And he’s not even the defensive player that he used to be.”

Tierney went on to say that he was fed up with seeing Anthony Rizzo at the plate and didn’t want him in the lineup come October. Tierney criticized the Yankees star for frequently dropping his back shoulder, which leads to pop-ups in short center, foul territory, or to the shortstop.

WFAN host Gregg Giannotti echoed this view, stating that if the first baseman wasn’t playing first base or serving as the designated hitter, he was just occupying a roster spot without contributing meaningfully.

Anthony Rizzo’s current slash line of .224/.285/.339 (77 OPS+) with seven home runs and 25 RBIs over 267 plate appearances (64 games) has been concerning. A particularly dismal 1-for-29 stretch in June resulted in his benching during the Yankees’ 6-4 victory over the Dodgers on Sunday. This season’s issues seem to continue last year’s decline when Rizzo had a 93 OPS+, falling below the league average for the first time, partly due to post-concussion syndrome.

Despite having one of the top offenses in the league, the Yankees’ first base production has been a weak point, with their first base wRC+ (82) ranking 22nd in MLB, largely due to Anthony Rizzo’s performance. As the Yankees aim to solidify their lineup for the postseason, the question of his role remains a hot topic among fans and sports analysts alike.

Struggling Anthony Rizzo gets mental break

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo is at the game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif.

New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone opted to give struggling first baseman Anthony Rizzo another day off following a discussion with him, Boone disclosed before Monday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Anthony Rizzo, mired in a 1-for-29 slump and coming off an 0-for-4 performance in Saturday’s loss to the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium, was absent from the starting lineup for both Sunday night’s game and Monday night’s series opener against the Royals. DJ LeMahieu filled in at first base.

Boone noted that they had considered giving Anthony Rizzo a couple of days off and decided to evaluate his situation on a daily basis. The manager emphasized the need for the Yankees star to take a mental break while he worked through his struggles.

“He and I [talked],” Boone said about Anthony Rizzo. “Something I was kind of leaning toward. Yesterday [we talked] about him being probably a couple [of games] down, but we were going to circle up each night.”

“Just want to give him a couple of days. He’s working through some things, but also a little break there, too.”

Despite his season-long difficulties, Anthony Rizzo entered Monday’s game with a .224 batting average, seven home runs, 25 RBIs, and a .624 OPS over 64 games. The three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner, whose 2023 season ended prematurely due to post-concussion syndrome, has a history of back issues.

Yankees' Anthony Rizzo makes a defensive error at the game against the Los Angeles Angels, Tuesday, May 28, 2024, in Anaheim, Calif.

Around five hours before the first pitch, Anthony Rizzo was seen on the field at Kauffman Stadium, engaging in various stretching and agility exercises as part of his pregame routine, a practice he has followed in recent seasons.

Boone confirmed that Anthony Rizzo is generally in good health, attributing his ability to manage back issues to a rigorous maintenance routine. The manager highlighted that Rizzo’s daily regimen has been crucial in keeping him in a “really good spot” regarding his back.

As the Yankees continue their series against the Royals, the timing of Anthony Rizzo’s return to the lineup remains uncertain. The team hopes that this brief break will help him emerge from his current slump.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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2 thoughts on “WFAN host says Anthony Rizzo ‘is finished’ and a ‘fried’ first baseman

  1. Anthony Rizzo is a classy man & one of the best all-around 1st basemen in baseball for a span of 10 years, prior to last year’s concussion issues.

    Yes, he’s been a shadow of his former self since the concussion, but the “back of his baseball card” as Aaron Judge indicated Tuesday night says he has the ability to turn it around. And he made a Superb Defensive play Tuesday (that dumb*** Torres couldn’t make) to rob a hit; and Rizzo hit 3 balls very hard in the game (95 mph exit velos), so he may be ready to break out offensively.

    Having said that, if Rizzo’s not hitting better come the trade deadline, they need to do one of the following: use DJ more at first (if he’s hitting), promote an internal 1B (such as T.J. Rumfield), or trade for a 1B. I like the trade option Least because the pickings are slim on whom might be available, and the cost would be excessive on some of them.

    I hope Rizzo rebounds because he’s a classy man, a great teammate, and an historically great hitter & defender.

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