When the New York Yankees traded for first baseman Anthony Rizzo before the deadline, most fans quickly wrote off Luke Voit.
But it had nothing to do with his baseball abilities. He just couldn’t stay healthy in 2021 and has largely been dealing with injuries since his arrival in 2018. It’d be tough to call his tenure in New York a tenable situation, even with his incredible 2020 campaign.
Some thought he’d be traded shortly after the Rizzo acquisition. Some thought Brian Cashman would wait until the offseason to make a move. Some thought the Yankees would make him a bench player for the rest of this year!
It seems Voit has heard all of that and is ready to challenge every last “take” suggesting he’s on the way out or falling out of favor.
After a rough game against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday in which he stranded a ton of baserunners and failed to put the Yankees ahead on multiple occasions, Voit came storming back on Monday against the Kansas City Royals.
His go-ahead RBI single in the seventh gave the Bombers a 1-0 lead. But did you really think the bullpen would hold it? It couldn’t preserve 1-0 or 2-1 leads. In the ninth, Voit had enough. He went yard to break the 2-2 tie … and the bullpen blew that, too! In fact, the team blew four saves before the eventual 8-6 win … which was also nearly blown.
Luke Voit will not be going away quietly after the Yankees traded for Anthony Rizzo.
The moral of the story? This lineup is better with a healthy Luke Voit, whether Rizzo is here or not. And the Yankees can make it work.
The designated hitter spot can be a carousel of Voit, Rizzo, Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge. If Stanton can continue playing the field, then that makes life even easier. That means you can have all four guys in the lineup at the same time. At worst, Voit is playing 4-5 times per week, which is actually better because his body has had trouble handling an everyday, full-time workload. Giving him some rest in between could actually preserve him and do wonders for the team over the final two months of the season.
But to think Voit was dispensable? Come on. Any player that had to deal with a knee surgery, oblique strain, and then a bone bruise to that surgically-repaired knee would be struggling to get back on track. The 2020 home run champ hasn’t played in more than nine straight games this year and his longest stretch while healthy was 16. How’s anybody supposed to get in a rhythm while working with that?
Don’t let Voit’s forgettable 2021 keep you from remembering he’s batting .273 with an .885 OPS in 243 career games with the Yankees. He’s been a productive player for this team when healthy ever since his arrival. And manager Aaron Boone knows that. Voit will be used as frequently as possible over the last two months of the season and will lengthen a lineup that has the potential to be the best in MLB.
Voit’s homecoming in Kansas City on Monday night was only just the start … and it was integral to the Yankees hanging on for a headache of a victory. Give him some time and you might be hoping in short order that he’s not traded in the offseason.