Yankees: 3 Luke Voit trades that make sense as injuries mount
By Adam Weinrib
Luke Voit’s latest hiccup with his surgically-repaired knee certainly could’ve marked the beginning of the end of his Yankees tenure.
In fact, the team might well have been looking for an out clause this offseason long before this most recent development.
Rival executives see it. Eagle-eyed watchers see it. At one point this offseason, we advocated that the Yankees had “found their guys” in Voit, Gio Urshela, Gleyber Torres and DJ LeMahieu, and fans should stop looking for uncomfortable upgrades across the infield.
Now? We’ve seen enough 2021 Yankees baseball. Something has to change, and that change has to occur wherever the front office is able to secure it.
Prior to this season beginning, we had no intention of trading Luke Voit, who’s controlled through 2024 (when he’ll spend the entire season at age 33) and was coming off a partial season as the American League home run leader. He’s repeatedly delivered the exact dose of spark this team’s searched for. He’s always known what to say when the team’s been in need of some blunt leadership. He’s also mashed the requisite amount of bombs a Yankees first baseman should be required to deliver.
Then again … the injuries have always been there, and they’ve crested in 2021.
Voit’s hernia, which he tried to play through in 2019, was bad enough. His year-long foot stuff in 2020 was a bizarre punchline, but no doubt led to some unorthodox trots around the bases. In 2021, though, he’s fallen victim to the same knee twice, and surgery at the end of spring training has now led to time off for a bone bruise. It’s safe to worry about how well the slugger will hold up, and with so many moving parts on this roster, we might be approaching a difficult conversation about his status as the odd man out.
If Voit does indeed become a victim of an offseason shuffle or a major shortstop signing, sending DJ LeMahieu to first as insiders have speculated, these three destinations make sense — and, again, we’re not trading a lemon. 2020 home run leader over here. Injuries or not, the baseball world should be curious.
These 3 trade destinations make sense for Yankees slugger Luke Voit.
3. Luke Voit to Atlanta
We’ll continue to bang this drum, but if Freddie Freeman’s asking price veers out of Atlanta’s range this offseason, Voit would be a suitable replacement for a team that still fancies itself to be a contender.
Though an American League trade would be DH-friendly if Voit’s knee continues to lag behind the rest of his body, a swap to the National League would definitely be more palatable for Brian Cashman and Co. Atlanta will be a few maneuvers away from the top of the National League this offseason, and if they’d rather not extend their MVP candidate who’s on the wrong side of 30 for between $150-$200 million, they could instead pivot to a potential All-Star at the same age who costs far less.
Of course, Freeman and Atlanta feel like a career-long marriage in search of an ending so … who knows, right? But it’s worth considering.
It’s difficult to judge Voit’s trade value at the moment — and, yes, it would’ve been much higher at the tail end of 2020 — but how’s this? We’ll pitch No. 6 Braves prospect Jared Shuster, a 2020 first-rounder and lefty out of Wake Forest, accompanied by Greyson Jenista, a lefty-swinging power bat who can play right field or first base and is showing impressive patience at Double-A.
Shuster has 36 whiffs in 28 innings alongside an 0.86 ERA. Adding him to a cadre of Yankees pitching prospects seems extremely tempting, as long as Atlanta can be convinced to part with him.