NEW YORK (AP) — Now that Anthony Rizzo has decided to remain in New York Yankees pinstripes, he'd like to see Aaron Judge stick around, too.
“I hope Judge stays just for the sake of the game," Rizzo said Wednesday “because you see a lot of franchise icons not getting what they deserve for the team that they have done so much for.”
Rizzo agreed Tuesday to a $40 million, two-year contract, a week after turning down a $16 million player option.
“My wife, Emily, and I really love it here. We love the city. We love the energy. We love Yankee Stadium. We love going to Yankee Stadium and playing at that park every day," Rizzo said. “And you look at the team, the New York Yankees are a team that, this organization, this franchise, that has consistently put winning products on the field.”
Rizzo gets $17 million in each of the next two seasons, and the deal for the first baseman includes a $17 million team option for 2025 with a $6 million buyout.
Judge, who remains on the free agent market, contacted Rizzo after the agreement.
“Just congratulations — the basics: 'Well deserved. Happy for you. Say hi to Emily,'” Rizzo remembered.
He hit .224 with 75 RBIs and had 32 home runs for the fourth time in his career. He hit 19 home runs at Yankee Stadium, including six close to the right-field foul line.
Rizzo said his back has not hampered him during offseason workouts.
Acquired from the Chicago Cubs at the 2021 trade deadline, Rizzo helped the Cubs to the 2016 World Series title — their first in 108 years.
“Just playing baseball isn't enough in a big market. There’s a lot of other things that come with that and I enjoy doing those things,” he said. "I enjoy taking responsibility to do those things, to stand up to talk to the media, good, bad or indifferent. And I think that really teaches you a lot about this game of baseball and it teaches you valuable lessons in your own life. Everyone loves you when you’re good, your coaches, the media, your friends, everyone, you’re the greatest thing on earth. But things go bad, that's when you really find out who you are."
He wouldn't detail which other teams contacted him. though he did not have any face-to-face meetings.
“When teams reach out to you in this process, it just makes you feel good,” Rizzo said. “I feel like in this game you are told what you don’t do really well, so in free agency when teams call, they praise you.”
He looks ahead to restrictions on defensive shifts next season.
“I'm hoping, obviously optimistically, like every lefty, I feel like I get very affected by the shifts, as a lot of lefties around the league,” he said. “Those maybe meaningless little singles that get in the hole there, I feel like turn a lot of us lefties into a very dangerous hitter.”
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Ronald Blum, The Associated Press