Earlier this week, the New York Yankees signed first baseman Anthony Rizzo to a two-year pact. Rizzo's return, in addition to New York's reported interest in Freddie Freeman throughout the winter, has fueled speculation that the Yankees will look to trade incumbent first baseman Luke Voit, who is coming off a disappointing season.
Indeed, Voit was limited to just 68 games because of various injuries. When he played, he wasn't up to his usual form. He batted .239/.328/.437 (109 OPS+) with 11 home runs and an inflated strikeout rate north of 30 percent. This from someone who, in his prior two full seasons with the Yankees, had hit .268/.366/.513 (135 OPS+) with 43 homers.
Voit only recently celebrated his 31st birthday, and he'll remain under team control until the winter of 2024. It stands to reason someone will take him if the Yankees do make him available. Just who might that someone be? Below, we've identified and ranked six potential landing spots based on their perceived likelihood.
It's never a good idea to assume the Guardians' ownership would allow them to add payroll, but surely Cleveland has to do something to address its lineup between now and Opening Day. Voit, who is projected to make $5.4 million through arbitration, would represent an upgrade over the Bobby Bradley-Yu Chang timeshare the Guardians currently have in place. Plus, they could always spin off Voit if he has a big first half and they find themselves on the outskirts of the postseason picture.
The Diamondbacks aren't the most logical fit on paper, but we think there's a chance they could chase Voit. As it stands, Arizona is projected to start Seth Beer and Pavin Smith most days at DH and in a corner-outfield spot. Voit would be able to give one or the other a break versus left-handers, and he could work his way into the full-time DH role if either he surges or one of Beer or Smith falters.
The Brewers would've made a lot more sense prior to the Andrew McCutchen signing. Alas, we think there's a chance that Voit still makes sense for Milwaukee. He could platoon at first base with Rowdy Tellez, freeing up Mike Brosseau (acquired earlier this winter in a trade) to serve as a true extra infielder.
How about a reunion between Voit and the Cardinals? St. Louis just signed Corey Dickerson to serve as their most-days designated hitter on Thursday, but Voit would give them an option against left-handed pitchers. The catch is that the Cardinals do have Juan Yepez waiting in the wings after a strong Triple-A season last year. It would be understandable if they'd prefer to give him a shot instead of reacquiring Voit.
The Athletics are deep into rebuild mode, so suggesting that they'd make any win-now maneuver seems silly. Someone has to take at-bats for Oakland, however, and the Yankees might feel good about shipping him to a team who is unlikely to factor into the postseason equation. (For those who are wondering, the A's current projected first baseman is Seth Brown.) The A's have shed enough money through other trades that they can still run out a barebones payroll even with Voit in tow.
The biggest question concerning the Rays possibility is not if they would have interest in Voit -- it seems probable, given their pursuit of Freddie Freeman and their willingness to move most-days designated hitter Austin Meadows -- but if the Yankees would trade him to a division rival. We're guessing New York would prefer to ship him elsewhere. Still, a rejuvenated Voit taking on the Yankees in a late-season series that could dictate the American League East would be the easiest of easy copy.