While the New York Yankees won’t be spending much of anything to reflect the 2021 payroll, who says they shouldn’t look ahead? They know their fate for the five years after the 2022 season — they’ll have Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton making the big bucks. But beyond that … there’s nobody as of this very moment.
And with guys like Luke Voit, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier still under club control at team-friendly prices, wouldn’t it behoove the front office to explore contracts that buy out their arbitration years and maybe a couple of free agency seasons? Wouldn’t that be a financially prudent decision?
Perhaps Voit is the best candidate, too. He’s making $4.7 million in 2021 as a Super Two candidate, meaning instead of three legitimate arbitration years, he’s getting four due to his advanced service time and impeccable production. Why not get this man under contract and avoid the arb headaches, and then maybe coax him with two handsomely paid FA years?
Voit’s age-30 season is coming up, but he’s built like a truck and should be able to play effectively for another 5-6 years. He didn’t make his MLB debut until he was 26. Also, he’s a fan favorite. He’s one of the most influential voices on the roster.
We know first basemen are relatively easy to come by, but Voit’s work ethic, offensive production, and serviceable defense is more than enough to plead his case. On top of that, the Yankees have no first basemen in their top 30 prospects, so it’s not like somebody is waiting in the pipeline.
Worst-case scenario? Voit’s defense regresses to a point where he’s no longer reliable and the Yankees can’t use him at DH because Stanton’s still hanging around. Totally fine! By that point, the universal DH should be in place, meaning there will be a lot more trade suitors for a slugger of his caliber.
What would this extension look like? Good question. It’s tough. But Voit’s played in just 283 games across four MLB seasons, which is nothing. His career high is 118 back in 2019. He doesn’t have much experience and his age isn’t on his side. Perhaps that gives the Yankees some negotiating leverage.
Would a five-year, $60 million extension work? That’ll pay Voit $12 million per season from 2022-2026 (not counting his salary in 2021). That’d be a bargain for the Yankees over the long term and would give Voit financial security as opposed to playing year to year hoping he doesn’t suffer an injury, which would affect his raise in arbitration. Think $12 million is too much? Look at it this way. If he has another dominant campaign in 2021, he’ll likely jump up to $8-$9 million, and so on and so forth.
One thing we do know is that fans want Voit in the Bronx for as long as possible because what he’s showed us over the last two-plus years is exactly the type of energy the New York Yankees need.