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Why the Yankees Don’t Need To Add a First Basemen This Season

Why the Yankees Don’t Need To Add a First Basemen This Season

by Owen Hetherington

February 12, 2022

I’ll be the first to admit. I am a huge Luke Voit fan. I’ve liked him ever since the Yankees traded for him back in 2018. There’s just something about him. Maybe because of his threat as a power-hitter from the right side of the plate. Maybe I like him so much because of his leadership. Either way, in my opinion, Luke Voit is easily a top 7 first basemen in the league and the Yankees don’t have to waste their time either signing or trading for a first basemen after the lockout.

MLB rumors: Yankees expected to pursue Freddie Freeman once lockout ends — CBS Sports MLB (@CBSSportsMLB) February 5, 2022
MLB rumors: Yankees face tough competition for Anthony Rizzo in free agency — Sports (@NJ_Sports) February 8, 2022

The Yankees have made inquiries about Matt Olson with the A's, but I'm hearing there hasn't been any detailed conversations about which players would be involved in a potential deal. Obviously, that can change with one call or one text. Yankees are definitely interested. — Jack Curry (@JackCurryYES) November 16, 2021

I’ll also be the first to admit, if the Yankees acquire Matt Olsen via trade, or Freddie Freeman or Anthony Rizzo, you won’t hear much complaining from me.

However, acquiring any one of those guys has consequences.

Let’s say for example the Yankees go out and get a first basemen- say via a trade, for argument’s sake- someone else is going to have to be dealt.

If the Yankees go out and sign a big-name power-hitting first basemen, the move will eliminate any opportunity to bring in an All-Star caliber shortstop or rotation assistance. It could also have impacts on retaining their current stars, such as Aaron Judge who will become an unrestricted free agent following this season.

The Yankees do not need to sign a first basemen this offseason.

The Yankees already have their power-hitting first basemen. His name is Luke Voit and he’s under the Yankees’ control until he reaches free agency in 2025. And when Voit’s bat is hot, he’s right up there with the best in the league, at any position. And when Luke Voit isn’t playing first, it should be DJ LeMahieu.

Based on how things went last season, it appeared Luke Voit’s time in the Bronx was up, when the Yankees almost traded for him at the deadline. After the deadline, he was benched for Anthony Rizzo.

Yes, Luke Voit faced his fair share of injuries in 2021. He combined to miss 82 games on four injured list stints. However, in 68 games with the Yankees, Voit slashed a respectable .239/.328/.437 with 26 R, 7 doubles, 1 triple, 11 HR, 35 RBI and 21 BB. Not bad for a guy who could never get in a groove before heading back to the IL.

In one 12-game stretch last year, Voit slashed .348/.400/.674. Nine of those games were played when Rizzo was out with COVID. Voit saw time as the DH in another two of those games, as Giancarlo Stanton was finally able to play the outfield.

But from Aug. 23 through the end of the season, Voit started in just 13 out of a possible 38 games. In the Yankees’ final 12 games, Voit had just four plate appearances. The Yankees valued an outfield of Gallo-Gardner-Judge with Stanton at DH and Rizzo at 1B over Voit in the lineup.

Yankees fans forget how good DJ LeMahieu is defensively at first base. He’s better than Voit defensively and can fill in at first when needed.

At this moment in time, the Yankees plan to use Torres at second base, who can’t play anywhere else. This opens the door for LeMahieu at first when Voit fills in at DH.

If the Yankees simply moved LeMahieu over to first, they’d have by far their best defensive infield. Urshela is Gold Glove caliber at third, and Torres is more than serviceable defensively at second. And then, insert shortstop here.

This past season at first base, LeMahieu had a DRS of 0. But he only made one error in 321 innings, as opposed to six in 299.0 innings at third, where he had -1 DRS. LeMahieu also had a DRS of -2 at second base this past season, for whatever that’s worth. So, maybe a change to first will work out for him for the better.

Sure, you want the first baseman to be a power threat and signs point toward LeMahieu maybe not getting back to his 2019 and 2020 form. But even if LeMahieu is somewhere in the middle of what he was last year and what he was in the previous two, that’s a very good two-way player.

Honestly, there is no “hole” for the Yankees to fill at first base. Between DJ LeMahieu and Luke Voit, the Yankees can figure out first base internally. But while we all foam at the mouth at the idea of Rizzo, Freeman, or Olson taking advantage of the short porch, one could argue their best option lies within the organization.


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