You’ve heard it a lot already this offseason, but we’ll remind you again. The New York Yankees have 19 players eligible for arbitration, which is the most in Major League Baseball.
There will be plenty of casualties who will be non-tendered, but outside of the obvious ones, could general manager Brian Cashman actually make some surprising decisions to cut guys loose?
Remember, the Yankees need to justify paying every single person that occupies a roster spot in 2022. There’s no more messing around. Carrying dead weight won’t be acceptable. And the Yankees certainly won’t want guys making somewhat pricey salaries while riding the bench.
So what are they going to do with Luke Voit? Everyone suspects a trade … but how much leverage do the Yankees really have?
If they bring Anthony Rizzo back, there’s no need for Voit, especially after the Yankees opted to bench him despite having room to play him at DH, which has clearly affected the relationship between the two parties. Despite being injured, Voit was performing well once he got into a groove, won AL Player of the Week in mid-August, and was promptly benched.
In that case, if teams know the Yankees don’t have a leg to stand on, why would they even entertain trade talks? Is there a possibility they feel New York will be backed into a corner before the Dec. 2 tender deadline? Voit is projected to earn $5.4 million in 2022. Would the Yankees risk tendering him a deal only to realize they won’t find a viable trade partner?
One Yankees insider seems to think non-tendering Voit could be a reality.
Here’s what Lindsey Adler, the Yankees beat writer for The Athletic, had to say about the situation (subscription required):
"“Voit was marginalized after returning from the injured list after the trade deadline and would seem to be a non-tender candidate as he’s projected to earn more than $5 million in his second year of arbitration.”"
Woah! That’s … blunt. Voit’s been an above-average offensive player since coming to the Yankees in 2018 but has been slowed by injuries. What a bad look non-tendering him would be, especially after reports suggested the Bombers tried to trade the slugger at this year’s deadline. Voit was clearly capable of playing first base and the Yankees went out and … got another first baseman instead of acquiring a center fielder or a shortstop. Both would’ve been more worthwhile.
Even if they don’t keep Rizzo, it’s hard to see Voit in pinstripes next year with how the second half of the season went. In case you didn’t realize, Adler mentioned the possibility of Voit being non-tendered without it hinging on Rizzo’s return.
In the end, all of our trade scenario predictions for Voit could very well be worthless. He might be cut loose just so the team can save money.