Though the slugging first baseman led the 2020 Yankees with 22 homers in a shortened season, he did not take the type of continued leap forward anyone was hoping for this season.
When he’s been active, he’s been unproductive.
He’s also rarely been active, missing games following that preseason knee procedure, an oblique strain, and a bone bruise on his surgically-repaired knee exiting the All-Star break.
Voit once felt like a voice of reason in this locker room, as well as the one player confident enough to declare when the team stunk while coming up with a solution for the malaise.
In recent weeks, though, it’s felt more and more like he’s likely to be playing next year somewhere else.
YES Network’s Jack Curry got the ball rolling on the latest rumors Thursday afternoon, pinpointing Voit’s involvement in many current trade rumors. As Yankee fans know, when Curry feels ready to make a statement like this, something must already be close to the finish line.
Are the Yankees about to trade Luke Voit? Is Kyle Schwarber involved?
Hand up, who among us thought Voit would actually be traded midway through 2021 while he was carrying the 2020 roster? Didn’t even have a whiff that such a change would be made.
At this point, though, it does feel like one of Voit or Gio Urshela will be moved prior to their next contract, and Voit’s been the more unreliable player (in terms of availability), as well as the man with more control. He’s locked down through 2024, for whomever’s interested in a supremely powerful first baseman with a mean streak.
In another edition of “How Could This Be a Coincidence?”, word leaked of the Yankees’ renewed interest in Kyle Schwarber, who could fill a similar role to Voit, and is coincidentally also on the injured list. Schwarber’s long been a Brian Cashman favorite, and doesn’t come with any attached security beyond the end of his one-year contract.
The veteran masher is having a very similar year to Voit’s 2020, posting 25 homers and a 150 OPS+ before hitting the shelf.
The Red Sox, Blue Jays and Yankees all being interested in a laid-up Schwarber certainly ups the urgency here.
If you’re the Yankees and you’re trying to add power by any means necessary, trading Voit before the totality of his injury breakdown seems like a wise, if somewhat callous, move. We’d be hoping for more long-term help than Schwarber in such a deal, but if Brian Cashman believes in his remaining prospect capital, he could spin Voit somewhere in need of slugging (Minnesota?) for bullpen help and a prospect, then tie that prospect to a mid-tier Yanks youngster and spin the package over to Washington.
Bizarrely, one of Voit’s last acts with this team might involve helping to train Luis Severino for the stretch run; he was spotted taking hacks (and lining a single) against the righty prior to Thursday’s game, with his future in the balance.
Face facts, fans. The Yankees are going to look very different on Friday.
Though sometimes it’ll sting, it’s ultimately a good thing.