Chasing Anthony Rizzo

In January of 2012, Anthony Rizzo, as part of a four-team trade, was shipped off to Chicago and was reunited with the person who brought him to San Diego, Jed Hoyer. He was not, as some may possibly believe, traded for Yonder Alonso. Though effectively that was the move as Josh Byrnes brought in Alonso as part of Latos trade thus causing a back-up at first.

Since Rizzo has left he has been pined for unlike any player that I can think of that has been shipped out of San Diego. I’ve never seen people follow and instantly react to every event of a player that was a former Padre. Not Jake Peavy, not Adrian Gonzalez, not Heath Bell, not even Trevor Hoffman.

Exhibit A: On Thursday the Cubs beat Texas 6-2, thanks in part to a 475 foot HR from Anthony Rizzo.

This HR was immediately followed by Coach Kentera tweeting the following:

And so it goes with Anthony Rizzo and Padres fans. He is the girl we let get away. Our Charlie. Our Amy. Even though we say we are over him, we keep driving by his house at night.

Padre fans, it’s time to cut the cord. It’s time to let him go. If he comes back, blah blah blah.

So, let’s compare Anthony Rizzo to our actual first baseman, Yonder Alonso.

Before we start it is worth pointing out that Rizzo is 3 years younger than Alonso (26 vs 23). As such Alonso has about 225 more PA than Rizzo. So, first things first, let’s look at a season in which both were everyday players.


2012 PA = 619

AVG: .273

HR: 9

RBI: 62

WAR: 1.4


2012 PA: 368

AVG: .285

HR: 15

RBI: 48

WAR: 2.3

Worth noting is that Rizzo hit 7 of those HRs at home (Wrigley). Alonso hit only 3 HR at Petco in the season listed above. Also, as most of you know, Alonso is a doubles machine and far outpaces Rizzo in that category (39 to 15).

So, Rizzo, in a smaller sample size, had a slightly better offensive year in 2012. Obviously, Rizzo excels defensively over Alonso, though Alonso has been improving in that area.

But perhaps more telling is comparing their time in San Diego. Now, a giant asterisk has to be put on any talk about Rizzo and his time in San Diego. Was he given a fair opportunity here? In 49 games played, no. Was he brought up to early? Probably, though there was little left for him to accomplish in AAA at the time. But, in those 49 games with San Diego, Rizzo hit .141, 1 HR, and struck out 46 times. Petco and Rizzo did not see eye-to-eye.

Alonso’s first season in Petco was the season I recapped above. Now, the argument can be made, and perhaps it is fair, that Rizzo was psyched out by the dimensions of Petco. Or that his swing was not designed for Petco Park. And yes, maybe that would have corrected itself. But maybe it not. We’ll never know.

But I can tell you this. Rizzo so far with the Cubs in 2013. BA of .174, 3 HRs, and 16 SO in 54 PA. Alonso? .309, 9 SO.

There is roughly 1.0 difference in WAR between the two. Yet, based on the gnashing of teeth every time Rizzo does something great you would think we dumped Kate Upton for…I don’t know, Margaret McPoyle.

Rizzo is not here. He’s not coming back. Let’s not not enjoy the first baseman we have because we all fell under the trance of Rizzomania once upon a time and never came back.

Let’s stop Chasing Rizzo.


You can find my nonsense at Padres Public every Friday. And follow me on Twitter @LeftCoastBias for 140 characters worth of nonsense on a variety of subjects ranging from Padres to Pearl Jam to PGA Golf. And I like alliteration.

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  • If Padres fans want other Padres fans to stop talking about Rizzo – and this isn’t just about you because my Twitter feed was overrun yesterday with people pointing out his batting average – they should really start leading by example.

    It feels like we’ve reached a point now where the people who relish the opportunity to trash Rizzo – which is what throwing out a two week batting average is – far exceed those who still pine for him.

    • My TL blew up with people upset we got rid of Rizzo yesterday. All because he hit a 475 ft HR. I’d say those you pine for him far outweigh those who want to bash him. I don’t think most fans want to bash him. I think most are merely pointing out that he isn’t Roy Hobbs.

  • SDPads1

    I’m pretty sure the most common complaint about the whole Rizzo ordeal, was not the fact that we now have Alonso at 1st, it is who the Padres got in return for Rizzo.

    • Yeah, but could Rizzo DRESS THE DEER?

      • SDPads1

        No, but he could make a mean ravioli.

      • That’s racist! …I think?

      • SDPads1

        Pretty sure I saw that on a Jane Mitchell episode once.

      • I saw Bud make pasta on Sam the Cooking Guy once. It was rather underwhelming.

  • I wouldn’t classify this as a bashing of Rizzo at all. I like the guy and I don’t think he was given a fair chance in San Diego. I have nothing against him. But obsessing over every good thing he does for Chicago is ridiculous. That’s the point.

  • The Rizzo obsession is really only one part of this. Rizzo was the most visible player Hoyer brought in. I remember his triple in the first game, and then watching him go to the sideline once it was over to sign autographs for fans. I remember thinking, “Maybe now we have some hope for the future.”
    Soon after, Jed was gone and Jed’s guy was gone. Moorad’s decision to replace Hoyer with Byrnes didn’t make sense to many of us and the reasoning behind trading Rizzo (“QB controversy”) was fundamentally weak.
    Rizzo/Alonso is the most direct way we have to compare Hoyer/Byrnes. When Rizzo does well, I am reminded that the guy who got rid of him is still running the team roster. Until Byrnes does something to prove himself to me, or he is replaced as GM, I don’t think I’ll be able to just let Rizzo go — we are still dealing with the reason he is gone in San Diego.

    • But what has he done in Chicago to make you still hold this grudge. He’s been marginally better than Alonso in less games in a hitter friendly ballpark.

      I remember that triple as well. It was awesome. And I think Rizzo will be a good player. But Alonso is a good player too. So is Cashner. They didn’t trade away Willie Mays.

      • Well, the age and WAR difference is huge in favor of Rizzo. This is probably close to Yonder’s peak at 26, and Rizzo has years of developing left. Rizzo doesn’t have Alonso’s baserunning drawbacks (he was one of the worst in the majors last year in baserunning WAR) or lack of defense (Alonso will still struggle putting the right foot on first base when stretching.)

        But to circle it back to the GM issue: I trusted Hoyer’s pedigree and believed he had a logical rebuilding plan that I could track with. I don’t like Byrnes’s trade history with the Diamondbacks, his pedigree is Moorad, and I am repeatedly confused by the decisions he makes. And I think replacing Rizzo with Yonder is symptomatic of the comparison between the two.

      • I think what many take issue with was the perceived ceilings of the respective players. Alonso was seen, by many, to be a second-division player. Rizzo, while a slightly more volatile product, could be a star. He was dealt for a guy with a far more questionable future due to injuries, and fans were left to wonder if the overall package was an unnecessary downgrade.

        Basically, it was two moves of varying philosophies – a safer bet with underwhelming expectations at 1B, but a high-risk arm. I kind of referred to this in my Cashner piece. Also, for me, I found it odd that the Padres expressed concerns that Rizzo couldn’t work things out or would struggle mechanically when an overwhelming majority of people praise him for his makeup and hard work.

        Overall, my concerns are in process and those deals felt like an odd disconnect in player evaluation that at least I feared might reverberate throughout the system.

    • This is the part of the Rizzo obsession that I don’t get. He was only the most visible player Hoyer brought in because he got some (awful) time on the big league club during Hoyer’s tenure. Everybody seems to forget that the big get in the Gonzalez trade was the Red Sox top prospect: Casey Kelly.

      • You’re right. The designation was somewhat arbitrary. But it also happened because Rizzo killed in the minors immediately following the trade, while Kelly had some up and down years.

        I don’t want to seem antagonizing, but I can make this about GMs, too. Hoyer brought in younger players; Byrnes has for the most part brought in older (25+ years old) ones.

  • For me, it’s not about losing Anthony Rizzo, but about giving him up for a reliever. Granted, the reliever’s beard is awesome. I could care less about the distance of the HR. And DRESS THE DEER!!!!!

  • Lets be honest do we really have to wait to see if this was a bad trade?
    Sure everyone’s considerations are with Rizzo and Cashner , but any good baseball
    person knows the big names were Cates and Kyung-Min Na
    So where is (OF) Kyung-Min Na the Padres received in this deal? after spending 2012 with
    the San Antonio Missions the San Diego Padres on March 30th 2013 released OF Kyung-Min Na
    Where’s (P) Zach Cates? well he’s in the Cubs minor league affiliate Daytona Cubs that’s right

    Class-A Advanced baby! with 3 starts this season 1-2 record 13 hits in 10 innings pitched
    12 SO and an 6.97 ERA , so I ask you , who do you think got the better deal?