The 2022 New York Yankees entered spring training needing to trade first baseman Luke Voit to resolve the logjam they’d created a few days prior. Voit’s fate had been all but officially sealed in 2021 when the Yankees imported Anthony Rizzo, then awkwardly juggled their incumbent first baseman between the DH slot and the bench for the remainder of the season.
When Rizzo hit the COVID IL, things got even more uncomfortable; suddenly thrust back into the first base role, Voit raked at the plate, earning American League Player of the Week honors before being deemphasized once more after New York’s shiny new toy returned. 2021 was the uncomfortable prologue to a predictable resolution in ’22; the Yankees brought Rizzo back, and quickly tried to make things right by Voit.
Before spring training had wrapped, Brian Cashman found a helpful match. Thanks to the universal DH, Voit could mash in San Diego for a Wild Card-contending Padres team, with New York receiving intriguing pitching prospect Justin Lange in return.
The only problem with this plan? Padres GM AJ Preller is absolutely never satisfied. A stint in San Diego could last four years or four months, and a player might not be able to do anything about the length of their stay.
Voit has delivered above-average offense (as he always does), with a 113 OPS+, 13 dingers, and 48 RBI. He’s a bare-chested baseball barreler. That’s what the Padres asked for. That’s what they received.
And because Eric Hosmer didn’t want to go to the rebuilding (and rebuilding, and rebuilding…) Washington Nationals, that’s where Voit ended up on Tuesday. He’s controllable through 2024. Absolutely cruel.
Former Yankees first baseman Luke Voit should want to crush Eric Hosmer
Pros: A shot at an All-Star appearance or two with a barren roster around you
Cons: The entirety of … everything …
In a blink, Hosmer went from a National (with Washington absorbing his money) to a Red Sox, where Chaim Bloom is treading bizarre water. Voit? He went from the team everyone was talking about, where he’d be able to split first base/DH duties with Josh Bell and hobnob with Juan Soto, to a baseball desert in DC.
Now, as the below-sea-level Nationals try to sell nostalgia, Voit will have to sit through the 2019 World Series’ Four-Year Anniversary Ceremony next year while Hosmer gets to play exciting AL East games and battle his Yankees. He won’t even get the Yankee vengeance he’s likely wanted since last summer!
In fact, he’ll probably be rooting for the Yankees against Hosmer, who evoked the rare Whiny Baby Clause in his contract and shipped Voit to Siberia.
Voit deserved far better than this. He went from MVP candidacy in the shortened 2020, felled by foot stuff and a hernia the year prior, to an exiled West Coast comeback, to being next season’s CJ Cron.
The Nationals have to do right by him and deal him again next deadline, as long as he can keep up a solid pace and stay motivated. No one was more open and honest than Voit during his Yankees tenure, and this is how the Baseball Gods repay him? Tough to watch.