Thursday's MLB: Yankees acquire Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo

Associated Press

The New York Yankees acquired Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo for two minor leaguers Thursday in their second major trade this week for desperately needed left-handed bats.

Chicago will pay the Yankees $5,652,403 as part of the trade, covering all but $202,435 of the remainder of Rizzo’s $16.5 million salary, which comes to a prorated share of the $570,500 minimum.

The swap came ahead of the Major League Baseball trade deadline Friday at 4 p.m. Earlier in the day, the Yankees announced they had gotten All-Star slugger Joey Gallo from Texas.

Chicago Cubs' Anthony Rizzo sits on the bench during a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Thursday, July 29, 2021, in Chicago.

Rizzo is batting .248 with 14 home runs and 40 RBIs. The 31-year-old had been a fixture at Wrigley Field for a decade, and helped the Cubs break their long World Series drought with a championship in 2016.

Popular in the clubhouse and with Cubs fans, Rizzo didn’t play in a 7-4 loss at home to Cincinnati on Thursday. The three-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is making $16.5 million this year and can become a free agent after the season.

New York is fourth in the AL wild-card chase for two spots. The Yankees lost 14-0 at Tampa Bay on Thursday.

The Cubs have been in a prolonged slide that dropped them below .500, prompting speculation they would trade some of their stars.

The Yankees sent right-hander Alexander Vizcaíno and outfielder Kevin Alcántara to the Cubs.

Both Rizzo and Gallo are both left-handed hitters, which the Yankees had seeking to add to a lineup that was predominantly right-handed — not a good mix at Yankee Stadium, with its short porch in right field.

The Yankees had been using a mix at first base this year with DJ LeMahieu getting a lot of time. Luke Voit led the majors in home runs last year during the pandemic-shortened season, but the big first baseman has been injured for much of the year.

Rizzo began his career with San Diego in 2011, then went to the Cubs in 2012. He is a career .269 hitter with 243 home runs — sixth on the Cubs’ all-time list — and 793 RBIs.

The 24-year-old Vizcaíno was a highly ranked prospect in the Yankees’ system. He pitched six times this year in the low minors after starting the season on the injured list.

The 19-year-old Alcántara hit .360 in eight games this year for the Florida Complex League Yankees.

More of Thursday's MLB

► AL East-leading Red Sox get Schwarber in trade with Nats

The Boston Red Sox got All-Star slugger Kyle Schwarber from the Washington Nationals for a minor league pitcher late Thursday night.

The trade was announced after the AL East-leading Red Sox lost to Toronto 13-1 at Fenway Park. Boston is 1 1/2 games ahead of Tampa Bay.

Schwarber had just finished a historic homer barrage when he strained his right hamstring on July 2. The left-handed hitter has been on the injured list since then, but could be playing again within a couple weeks.

The 28-year-old outfielder was off to a smashing start in his first season with Washington, hitting 25 home runs with 53 RBIs in 72 games. He was chosen as an All-Star for the first time, but unable to play in the showcase event.

Schwarber tied a major league record by hitting 12 home runs in a 10-game span from June 19-29. He also set a record for a leadoff hitter for homers in a month, connecting 15 times to start games in June.

With Boston, Schwarber could see time in the outfield and also at designated hitter, where J.D. Martinez usually fills the role for the Red Sox.

Schwarber joined the Nationals on a $10 million, one-year contract after six seasons with the Chicago Cubs. In 2016, he played only two games in the regular season after a severe knee injury, then came back to help the Cubs win the World Series by going 7 for 17 (.412) in five games.

►Dodgers get Royals left-hander Danny Duffy for playoff push

The Los Angeles Dodgers got Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy in a trade Thursday as the World Series champions boosted their rotation for a playoff push.

The Royals sent their longtime staff member and cash to the Dodgers for a player to be named.

The 32-year-old Duffy is on the 10-day injured list with a strained left flexor and last pitched on July 16. He missed more than a month earlier this season with a similar injury.

Duffy is 4-3 with a 2.51 ERA this season. He got off to a super start, going 4-1 with an 0.60 ERA after five outings.

Duffy began his major league career with the Royals in 2011, helped them win the 2015 World Series and was 68-68 with a 3.95 ERA while with Kansas City.

With 10 years in the big leagues and the last five with the same team, Duffy could have vetoed a trade. Instead, he's going back to Southern California, where's he from, and leaving a team out of playoff contention for a club in the thick of the race.

The Dodgers are three games behind San Francisco in the NL West after losing to the Giants 5-0 on Thursday. Los Angeles holds the top wild-card spot.

Duffy could fill the rotation spot that Trevor Bauer held. Bauer was played on administrative leave by Major League Baseball and the players’ association on July 2 under the sport's joint domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse policy.

Police and MLB are investigating allegations of sexual misconduct against the pitcher, and his leave has been extended through Aug. 6.

The Dodgers designated outfielder DJ Peters for assignment to make room for Duffy.

► Mariners acquire RHP Diego Castillo from Rays for 2 players

The Seattle Mariners quickly found a replacement for the back end of their bullpen, acquiring right-hander Diego Castillo from the Tampa Bay Rays for reliever JT Chargois and a minor league infielder on Thursday.

Castillo will likely jump into the closer role that was vacated when the Mariners traded Kendall Graveman to the Houston Astros earlier in the week. But unlike Graveman, who will be a free agent after the season, the Mariners gain a significant amount of control for the future with the acquisition of Castillo.

“I’ve said all along that we were focused on doing what we could to improve our team now and to continue to improve our team for 2022 and beyond. We feel like we’ve accomplished that,” Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “I can’t tell you that we will make another deal between now and the deadline but we're not intentionally done. If we’re done it’s just because we weren’t able to get anything across, but we do have other things going.”

Castillo, 27, has 14 saves in 37 appearances and a 2.72 ERA this season for the Rays. He had a 1.66 ERA in 21 appearances during the shortened 2020 season for Tampa Bay. Castillo also appeared in 10 postseason games last year for Tampa Bay and allowed two earned runs in 11 innings.

More important for Seattle, Castillo will be under club control through 2024. It's not a flashy move in the short term that will help Seattle compete with Oakland and the New York Yankees in the AL wild-card race. But it's one that should make Seattle better in the future.

► Cubs deal righty reliever Tepera to crosstown White Sox

Reliable reliever Ryan Tepera is heading from the North Side to the South Side.

The struggling Chicago Cubs traded the 33-year-old right-hander to the crosstown White Sox on Thursday for minor league lefty Bailey Horn, giving the AL Central-leading White Sox some bullpen help for the rest of the season and maybe the playoffs, too.

Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Ryan Tepera throws against the St. Louis Cardinals in a baseball game, Friday, July 9, 2021, in Chicago.

“It’s kind of a unique thing for a trade to happen between crosstown rivals. I’m excited,” Tepera said. “Obviously going to a first-place team, playoff contention, I’m looking forward to it.”

It was the second trade of the day for the White Sox, who also acquired slugging second baseman Cesar Hernandez from the Cleveland Indians.

Tepera is 0-2 with a 2.91 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 43 1/3 innings this season and has allowed just one home run over his last 36 appearances. Over his seven-year major league career with Toronto and the Cubs, he's 12-14 with a 3.54 ERA in 279 1/3 innings.

“Ryan has been an extremely reliable bullpen arm this season and throughout his career,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement. “We are very pleased to add him to our talented and versatile group of relievers. Across his career with the Blue Jays and Cubs, Ryan has succeeded in a variety of situations and has the ability to get both lefties and righties out at very high rates.”

Horn is a combined 2-3 with a 5.63 ERA in 14 appearances for Low-A Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.

► White flag: Indians trade 2B Hernandez to 1st-place Sox

The Indians probably can't catch the Chicago White Sox, so they're helping their AL Central rival.

Cleveland traded second baseman Cesar Hernandez to the first-place White Sox on Thursday for minor league pitcher Konnor Pilkington — a move that signals the Indians are conceding the division.

“We made the trade that we felt made the most sense for us and this is the direction we went,” Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. "Just as we tried to be realistic in assessing where we are, we’re going to continue to do our best to win as many games as possible.

“But the reality is the White Sox are a number of games in front of us and we’re intent on improving. If they didn’t acquire Cesar, we were pretty confident they were going to acquire another talented player from another team.”

The White Sox, who lead the Indians by 8 1/2 games and open a series with them Friday, have been in the market for a second baseman since starter Nick Madrigal suffered a season-ending hamstring tear on June 10.

The intra-division swap created an oddity. With the Indians playing this weekend in Chicago, the team agreed to transport Hernandez's gear before they'll face him for the first time.

“We’ve done a lot of unique trades and had some interesting circumstances around them,” Antonetti said. "But I don’t think we’ve had that one before.”

► Blue Jays get closer Brad Hand from selling Nationals

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired closer Brad Hand from Washington on Thursday, getting some bullpen help from a skidding Nationals team that has turned into a trade-deadline seller.

The 31-year-old Hand is 5-5 with a 3.59 ERA and 21 saves in 26 opportunities for the Nationals, who entered Thursday's doubleheader at Philadelphia eight games under .500 and in the midst of a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined four players. Washington is 6-16 in July.

The Blue Jays sent catcher Riley Adams to Washington.

Toronto entered Thursday at 50-48, good for fourth place in the tough AL East, but the Blue Jays are 4 1/2 games back of the second AL wild card as they prepare to begin their first true homestand of the season on Friday. Toronto had played home games in Dunedin, Florida, and Buffalo, New York, this season because of pandemic-related travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada.

Hand signed a one-year, $10.5 million contract with Washington in the offseason. Before that, he spent parts of three seasons with Cleveland, where he had 58 saves. The 11-year veteran has also pitched in the majors for Miami and San Diego.

The 25-year-old Adams hit .239 with seven homers and 17 RBIs in 35 games or Triple-A Buffalo. He has appeared in 12 games this season for Toronto, batting .107.