Insider predicts Anthony Rizzo to Red Sox

MLB insider predicts Red Sox will land Anthony Rizzo originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

Could Anthony Rizzo return to where his professional baseball career began?

The veteran first baseman is one of several Chicago Cubs players reportedly on the trading block ahead of Friday’s deadline. ESPN’s Buster Olney sees Rizzo and the Boston Red Sox — who drafted him in 2007 — as a match made in heaven.

Red Sox trade deadline targets: Starting pitchers

During Sunday’s ESPN broadcast, Olney predicted the Red Sox as the trade destination for Rizzo.

“They saw Tampa Bay go out and make that big deal for Nelson Cruz to get that one hitter who is absolutely perfect in the middle of their lineup,” Olney said. “And they are having a great season. They know they have Chris Sale coming back, he looks tremendous. But they could use some bullpen help, and they could use some help at first base.

“Anthony Rizzo checks every box. He’s a left-handed hitter which they need, he can help the defense, he would help the pitching, and you know the heart rate in October would be 60 instead of 160.”

Rizzo is a three-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glover, and a World Series champion. The soon-to-be 32-year-old is a lock for at least 20 homers a season. It’s no secret he’d be a tremendous addition to the middle of Boston’s lineup as a much-needed left-handed bat.

First base has been a weak spot for the Red Sox in 2021. Rookie Bobby Dalbec is hitting just .218 with a .656 OPS. Michael Chavis, Danny Santana, Franchy Cordero and Christian Arroyo have each played first this season, but there’s no doubt Boston would like more consistency at the position as it looks to finish the season strong.

Rizzo is hitting .244/.343/.431 with 12 homers and 36 RBI through 89 games with the Cubs this year. While those are subpar numbers by his standards, he’d still be a significant upgrade for a team with World Series aspirations.