The Tigers have acquired minor league infielder Joe Rizzo from the Marlins in exchange for cash, per announcements from both clubs. The 25-year-old has been assigned to Triple-A Toledo.
Rizzo was a second-round pick of the Mariners back in 2016 but never advanced beyond the Double-A level in his original organization. He posted a solid .277/.343/.467 with Seattle’s Double-A affiliate last season, but the Mariners would’ve had to add him to add him to the 40-man roster in order to prevent him from reaching minor league free agency, and they opted not to do so. Rizzo signed a minor league deal with the Marlins in December.
The 2023 season hasn’t gone as well for Rizzo as the 2022 campaign. He returned to Double-A and posted a tepid .228/.298/.362 batting line through 142 plate appearances. Despite that below-average offense, he was bumped up to Triple-A Jacksonville, where he’s struggled to a .111/200/.139 output in 40 trips to the plate. Rizzo has primarily been a third baseman in his minor league career, with more than 4000 professional innings logged at the hot corner. He’s still seen notable action at both first base (724 innings) and second base (409 innings).
Baseball America ranked Rizzo 11th, ninth and 23rd among Mariners prospects on their respective 2017-19 rankings, but he’s since fallen off the prospect radar. He’s drawn praise for his bat-to-ball skills, raw power, throwing arm and makeup in those reports, but Rizzo’s on-field results have yet to align with the above-average rating he’s received on several tools and there are questions about his long-term defensive position. For now, he’ll get another change of scenery and fresh set of input from a new coaching and player development staff in hopes of taking his game to a new level and forcing his way into the big leagues.