Does Anthony Rizzo really want to play until 40? But first things first: keeping the Yankees afloat

On a team that was supposed to bomb away like nobody’s business, Rizzo — with better-than-expected numbers, though nothing he hasn’t done before — has been the best and most productive hitter.

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Anthony Rizzo rounds the bases after homering at Yankee Stadium.

Anthony Rizzo rounds the bases after homering at Yankee Stadium.

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Like any of us needs another reason to feel old, right? But here’s one: Anthony Rizzo has been a major-leaguer with a World Series ring for longer than he was a major-leaguer without one.

Yep, the Cubs’ 2016 glory is starting to get way back there in the rearview mirror.

Rizzo forever might have that boyish grin, but he has reached his 13th season in the bigs and 16th in pro ball, otherwise known as damn near half his life.

‘‘Honestly,’’ he said, ‘‘the World Series seems like a long time ago to me now. I spend a lot more time thinking about winning another one than I do [thinking about] the one we won.’’

That’s partly because the World Series never is a non-subject when you play for the Yankees, as Rizzo has since the Cubs pulled the plug on any remaining notion of trying to win at the 2021 trade deadline. The Cubs had their 108-year championship drought. The Yankees, with 27 championship banners flying in the Bronx, have their own 14-year one. It’s a matter of opinion which one is longer.

Now 33, Rizzo has been too busy keeping the Bombers afloat in a wickedly strong American League East to dwell on old times, ponder what his shelf life as a player might be or fret about aches, pains and individual numbers. On a team that was supposed to bomb away like nobody’s business, Rizzo — with better-than-expected numbers, though nothing he hasn’t done before — has been the best and most productive hitter.

‘‘Fortunately, I still feel youthful mentally,’’ he recently told the Sun-Times. ‘‘I think that’s important. Physically, a whole lot more goes into it.’’

The Yankees entered the season as division favorites and are on pace to win 90-plus games, but they entered play Tuesday in fourth place and an eye-popping seven games behind the refuse-to-lose Rays, who are on one of the greatest season-opening hot streaks of all time.

The Yankees, meanwhile, have yet to see debuts from top starting pitchers Luis Severino and newcomer Carlos Rodon, who already has had forearm and back troubles to go with his $162 million free-agent windfall. Reigning MVP Aaron Judge’s mighty bat has been quiet. Slugger Giancarlo Stanton is out until at least late May, and former MVP Josh Donaldson has been healthy for only a handful of games. And rookie Anthony Volpe, the starting shortstop who was one of the highest-ranked prospects in the sport — and a Manhattan native and Yankees fan to boot — is hitting in the .100s.

Without Rizzo, the Yankees would be in much worse shape. He’s the only .300 hitter in the lineup, is getting on base at roughly a .400 clip and is slugging well above .500. The home runs and RBI are there, too. For the money — he signed in the offseason for two more years and $40 million, with a club option for 2025 — one easily could argue he has been a steal.

And if Rizzo actually manages to build on his start, there’s a chance he’ll have an extra pep in his step when the Cubs run into him — for the first time since trading him — in New York for the final series before the All-Star break. Rizzo last was an All-Star in 2016.

But it’s going to be a struggle for the Yankees to rise in the division, let alone to distinguish themselves in the AL. There have been some real duds, such as the game Sunday at Yankee Stadium, when a homer by Rizzo with two outs in the ninth — the 1,500th hit and 900th RBI of his career — was all that kept the home team from being shut out by the Blue Jays, who easily had the upper hand in a contentious series.

But at least the Yankees are, as ever, in go-for-it mode, which Rizzo appreciates. The whole New York experience has lit a fire under him.

‘‘I just want to play as long as I can,’’ he said. ‘‘Five, six, seven, eight more years? I don’t know how many, but I just want to be one of those guys who keeps playing and playing and is productive year in and year out. That — and to win — is what I want now as far as the rest of my career.’’

The Yankees almost certainly have too many titles to chase and far too much money to spend for Rizzo to linger beyond his current deal with the team, but it’s a testament to how long he has been around that we’re even discussing it. How hard must it be to stay relevant in the majors for even 13 years? Or to make it at all? Consider that Rizzo was the seventh player the Red Sox selected in the 2007 draft and has played in more than three times as many big-league games as the six guys the club took before him combined.

He’s the one who made it, and he’s still going strong.

‘‘There’s a lot left,’’ he said.

There’s a lot still needed.

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