Anthony Rizzo explains why he 'definitely wanted to come back' to Yankees
When Anthony Rizzo looks back at his short-lived MLB free agency, he gets to the point about reupping with the Yankees.
"I definitely wanted to come back here," the 13th-year veteran first baseman -- who in November agreed to sign a two-year contract worth $40 million contract with a club option for the 2025 season -- said Sunday at spring training from Tampa, Fla. "That was (our) first choice, was to be here. We loved where we lived last year. We loved the whole atmosphere in the city, outside the field, and showing up to Yankee Stadium every day is top notch. We were on the verge of turning down a qualifying offer and knowing it could be a long time in the winter and I really wasn't interested in that again, just with the last two, three years of chaos of COVID, lockout, all the variables.
"So when the contract came and we felt comfortable with it, we definitely jumped on it."
Rizzo, who turns 34 in August, slashed .224/.338/.480 with 32 home runs and 75 RBI over 130 regular-season games in 2022.
"Huge -- became a priority right away," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of getting Rizzo signed. "I think everyone's seen Anthony come in and become a leader on this team, have success playing here, become entrenched with his teammates and with the organization and feeling like this is a place that he wanted to be but also just the left-handed pace, the defender that he is, the leader that he is.
"He's such a glue player for us. So I would say it was absolutely a priority."
The previous offseason saw Rizzo remain a free agent until March 15, when he signed his two-year contract worth $32 million with an opt-out clause for the 2023 season.
Over 49 regular-season games with the Yankees in 2021, Rizzo slashed .249/.340/.428 with eight home runs and 21 RBI.
The Yankees originally landed Rizzo in a July 29, 2021, trade that sent RHP Alexander Vizcaino and OF Kevin Alcantara to the Chicago Cubs.
"At the end of the day, this is really where we wanted to be," Rizzo said last March. "It's just a great fit for trying to win a World Series. That's all it's about here, and that's the best thing that you can ask for as a player is be on a team that's competing to win the last game of the postseason."