And, yes, we’re well aware the Yankees already took it away from him during the second half of the 2021 season.
Now Voit, a non-tender candidate prior to the lockout who retained his roster spot, somehow remains undaunted by his roller coaster 2021, and is confident in his own ability to retake the first base slot without internal competition.
Regarding his chances of remaining atop the mountain on Opening Day, Voit told the New York Post, “I expect to. I’m the only first baseman on the depth chart right now.”
While succinct and accurate, the Yankees found a fairly significant way around that at the 2021 deadline, and with the Universal DH en route, many suspect they’ll do so again next season.
Yankees 1B Luke Voit commented on his New York future
In the above interview, the ever-confident Voit restated his goal to be the Yankees’ first baseman specifically, and not simply an All-Star caliber first baseman elsewhere (though we suspect he’d get used to being a 1B/DH in the National League, if it provided a better opportunity).
The Yankees’ depth chart issues shouldn’t be Voit’s concern right now — and, as we tried to scream last August, having “redundant” offense at one key position usually sorts itself out, especially with an offensively-challenged team like the 2021 Yankees.
We argued in favor of keeping both Voit and Rizzo heavily involved, and it paid off when Voit hit .281 with five homers in 16 August starts.
Of course, when Rizzo returned, he was mostly relegated to pinch-hitting duty, posting an 89 OPS+ during a difficult September/October.
If the Yankees keep Voit after all the chatter, we wouldn’t be stunned. When healthy, he’s always a valuable bat.
But if he retains the No. 1 spot on the depth chart when the season opens, it would be a strange miscalculation after Brian Cashman already tipped his hand about his lack of faith in the slugger last summer.