(670 The Score) Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is headed East as anticipated – but to a different team than most thought.
The Cubs traded Rizzo to the New York Yankees on Thursday evening. The development comes after Rizzo had been connected to the Red Sox in trade speculation for days.
The Cubs received Class-A right-hander Alexander Vizcaino and rookie-level outfielder Kevin Alcantara in return.
The lefty-hitting Rizzo, 31, is having a down year but has a long track record of success and plenty of playoff experience. He’s hitting .248 with 14 homers, 48 RBIs and .792 OPS in 92 games this season. Rizzo has been swinging the bat better lately, homering in three of his past four games before sitting out the Cubs' loss to the Reds at Wrigley Field on Thursday afternoon.
Rizzo is set to be a free agent at season's end. The Cubs will cover the remainder of his salary this season, according to reports.
Rizzo has been the heart and soul of the Cubs for years, arriving from the Padres in a trade prior to the 2012 season. He's a three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner who emerged as a team leader and played a key role in helping lift the Cubs to a World Series championship in 2016, breaking their 108-year drought.
Vizcaino, 24, was an international signee of the Yankees in 2016. He’s 0-1 with a 7.50 ERA in six games, including three starts, between the Florida Complex League and high Class-A Hudson Valley in 2021. He spent his first three seasons, save for one start, in rookie ball and then broke out in 2019 in 21 starts between Charleston and Tampa, then the Yankees’ low-A and high-A affiliates, respectively.
Vizcaino was at the Yankees’ alternate site in 2020 and earned a 40-man roster spot this winter. He was ranked as the No. 9 prospect in the Yankees’ system by MLB Pipeline, which wrote that “his fastball (mid-to-high 90s, touching 100) and changeup (low 90s) earn double-plus grades when at their best, and his low-90s changeup has splitter action and can be even more devastating than his fastball.”
However, MLB Pipeline is bearish on Vizcaino’s ability to remain a starter due to inconsistent secondary pitches and command that “needs refinement.”
Alcantara, 19 was an international signee of the Yankees in 2018. He spent 2019 in the Gulf Coast League and has been repeating that level here in 2021. He had a .360/.448/.520 slash line in eight FCL games this season.
Over 49 professional games, he has a .269/.325/.382 slash line.
Ranked previously as the No. 12 prospect in the Yankees’ system, Alcantara is “built like a younger Dexter Fowler and could have plus tools across the board" as he develops, according to MLB Pipeline. The scouting report also noted that Alcantara has “well above-average power” and is a plus runner with solid arm strength in the outfield.