Good news, Yankees fans! Rob Manfred just dropped you a nugget in his latest press ramblings.
No, the season’s not guaranteed to start on time, even though Manfred claimed he optimistically didn’t foresee any delays. No, the season ticket prices aren’t going down in the Bronx. And no, he didn’t award Carlos Correa to the Yankees in a belated competitive balance gesture/dig at Hal Steinbrenner.
He did, however, open up several more doors that could all result in a Luke Voit trade.
Now, can we get to work on unlocking everybody so we can actually get to work?
Manfred’s Thursday musings, in which he sort of just assumed the two sides would come together this weekend and get the season started on time, included a very rare pair of ownership concessions: draft pick compensation for free agents will be eliminated, and the Universal DH will be installed.
In other words, the Milwaukee Brewers just opened their eyes to Voit a little bit wider, and any other near-contender in the National League who needs pop/doesn’t have their roster structured to include an excess power bat should be interested, too.
New York Yankees have more Luke Voit trade destinations thanks to Rob Manfred.
So … who does Brian Cashman engage with once the lockout ends?
The Brew Crew rumors have long been the loudest (even if Milwaukee feels like arguing with us whenever we propose exchanges), but how about the in-division Cincinnati Reds, who can alternate Joey Votto and Voit at DH/first? How about the San Francisco Giants, who are smart enough to read Voit’s consistent offensive stats and see that acquiring him at a discount could be wise?
When he’s healthy, he hits. If he’s not, he sits. But for, say, a top-20 prospect and a lottery ticket? It’s a bat worth acquiring — and one that could’ve swung the playoffs last year like the Eddie Rosario acquisition, if anybody had cared enough to try.
Voit has spent this offseason weight training with Rafael Devers and working on his pliability, trying to fend off the injury bug yet again. If his balky knee, which was responsible for most of his time missed last season, is back to near-full-strength, teams will be acquiring a bat who put up a 124 OPS+ in 2019 (dinged by a hernia, which sapped his strength) and who led the league in homers in the shortened 2020 season.
Allow us to drop Rob Manfred an extremely rare, “Thank you” on this one.
In the future, NL teams will be built differently, anticipating DH needs with every move. This time, the Yankees have the chance to catch all of them in scramble mode, offering one of the best available names.