Why the Yankees Should NOT Consider Trading Luke Voit This Offseason
Why the Yankees Should NOT Consider Trading Luke Voit this Offseason
by Owen Hetherington
This off-season, Yankee fans are putting on their General Manager hats to think of the best-case scenarios entering the 2020 season. If one thing is for sure, the Yankees should make some adjustments before the start of 2021 Spring Training to get themselves back in the Fall Classic for the first time in over a decade.
The man. The myth. The legend Luke Voit for MVP this year? pic.twitter.com/ZUneTWfMze — Bronx Pinstripes (@BronxPinstripes) September 19, 2020
One thought that has shaken up Yankee fans the past few weeks is whether or not the Bombers should consider trading Luke Voit. Every time I see someone tweeting or talking about the possibility of trading Voit before the 2021 season makes me cringe. If there was one thing consistent about all the madness of the 2020 60-game season, it was Luke Voit. Trading Voit would be taking a complete 180 at trying to bring a championship back to New York because of his power bat and his leadership presence in the locker room.
“We should trade luke voit” pic.twitter.com/xRXDlkpnxI — Justin🚗💨🐌 (@Its_Bleachbit) October 23, 2020
Ideas and theories have been thrown around to justify the rationale for trading Voit. Some people think that by opening up first base, the Yankees will have the option to move Gleyber Torres back to second and extend DJ LeMahieu to start at first. This would leave shortstop with a big question mark that I think the Yankees can avoid by keeping Voit.
One person who has jumped on the bandwagon with this idea is none other than former Yankees’ first baseman, Mark Teixeira. Over a week ago, Teixeria joined The Michael Kay Show to talk about his opinion to trade Luke Voit and gave his insight on how the Yankees can fill the hole. His justification: the Yankees can replace Voit by signing Didi Gregorius.
Now I know your initial thought that the Yankees should bring back Gregorius is likely to be excited. In his run with the pinstripes, I don’t there could have been a better player to replace the Captain at shortstop than Didi. However, Didi is entering his age 31 season and will likely look for a contract worth 4-5 years. Gregorius spent his entire 2020 season with the Philadelphia Phillies after the Yankees did not offer him a one-year qualifying offer after the 2019 season. Last season, Didi hit .284/.339/.488 in 60 games with the Phillies. I am happy for Didi because of his run with the Yankees and he deserves a multi-year deal. However, I don’t think the addition of Didi helps this team win a championship by any means.
I hate the idea of the Yankees wanting to sign a shortstop this off-season. Lindor and Gregorius are only two of the names being thrown around by Yankees fans. Rather than look somewhere else, I think the Yankees need to stick it out with Voit to help them win a championship. Here’s my take on why trading Voit this offseason is off the table for the Yankees.
He’s One of Baseball’s Top Hitters at First Base
There’s no denying Voit’s contributions at the plate have played a crucial role in the team’s success since joining the big-league roster on August 2, 2018. Since he joined the Yankees roster, only Freddie Freeman has out-hit Voit when looking at wRC+. Weighted Runs created plus quantifies run creation and normalizes it, so position players who play in different ballparks/eras can be compared on an equal playing field. Here’s a look at the top first basemen when comparing wRC+:
145 wRC+// Freddie Freeman
144 wRC+// Luke Voit
137 wRC+// Pete Alonso
135 wRC+// Anthony Rizzo
131 wRC+// Max Muncy
131 wRC+// Jose Abreu
Voit’s ability to create runs offensively ranks toward the top in all of baseball since Voit was traded to the Yankees. Aside from just wRC+, Voit ranks third in SLG% (.543) and sixth in home runs (57) among qualified first basemen. He can create offensive and has been one of the best at it since joining the pinstripes.
He Hits the Ball…Very hard
Instead of looking at how Voit compares to first basemen in the league, let’s see how he stacks up against the entire league. Since joining the Yankees, Voit ranks towards the top of baseball in barrel % (combines exit velo and launch angle to examine how well someone makes contact).
Barrel % Leaders since Voit Joined the Yankees (Fangraphs)
17.0% // Mike Trout
16.7% // Nelson Cruz
15.6% // Christian Yelich
14.4% // Luke Voit
14.2% // Pete Alonso
13.5% // Matt Olsen
13.3% // Ronald Acuna Jr.
13.1% // Franmil Reyes
13.1%// Kyle Schwarber
12.9%// Bryce Harper
First ever postseason home run for Luke Voit pic.twitter.com/V9knwUIYIm — New York Yankees Stats (@nyyankeesstats) October 8, 2020
Between the three players above Voit, they have combined for 16 All-Star games and 2 MVPs over their careers. How hard Voit hits the ball is impressive when seeing where he stacks up against other players. Stats like these are what drew the Yankees to trade for Voit back in 2018 and represent Voit as the complete hitter he is.
His Leadership Presence in the Locker Room
One thing I picked up on from watching the 2020 season and ultimately my reason not to trade Voit is his presence in the locker room and desire to win a world championship. If there was any guy during the Yankees’ rough stretch in 2020 who took accountability and showed a desire to win was Luke Voit. Here’s a look at one of his postgame conferences, coming off a loss from Toronto:
Luke Voit: We just gotta get back to what the New York Yankees are. I feel like teams aren’t really scared of us right now and it’s kind of a sad thing. pic.twitter.com/eCcj9BOeAb — YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 9, 2020
Just look at his tone of voice and desire to win. There wasn’t another player on the roster that took accountability and wanted to win as much as Voit. It was extremely encouraging to see someone this season when injuries overtook the Yankees’ lineup. Voit was that guy for us this season and anyone who wants to see him go is just a part of the issue. Since there is a possibility the Yankees don’t bring back Brett Gardner this offseason with their club option, Luke Voit might be that guy to take on the leadership role with Aaron Judge. This is not a guy you want to see in another uniform.
All being said, I think the Yankees would be making a huge mistake even considering trading Luke Voit this offseason. His value offensively is toward the top of baseball and his leadership in the clubhouse is too valuable. Rather than trade Voit and sign a position player this offseason, the Yankees need to focus on rebuilding their bullpen and adding another starter. If you’re still on the fence about Voit, enjoy this little highlight reel to change your mind.