The moment that the news broke of the Yankees re-signing Anthony Rizzo to a two-year contract, the writing was on the wall for incumbent first baseman Luke Voit. Honestly, the scribbles had already been there since the team first acquired Rizzo at the 2021 trade deadline with Voit struggling to stay on the field due to injuries. Given the accelerated nature of the strange post-lockout offseason/spring training hybrid, it felt like a trade could be coming at any moment — and Voit knew it, too.
The transaction is here. Just before noon on Friday, Jon Heyman reported that Voit was on his way to the San Diego Padres. This news came less than a half-day after Ken Rosenthal noted that the Padres were interested in the 2020 home run leader. Now, the deal is done, and the Yankees will be getting a minor league pitcher in return: Justin Lange.
The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired RHP Justin Lange from the San Diego Padres in exchange for INF Luke Voit.— New York Yankees (@Yankees) March 18, 2022
Considering that Voit seemed to have limited trade value as an injury-prone first baseman/designated hitter, Lange doesn’t seem to be too bad of a return. He was the Padres’ top pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, selected 34th overall out of Llano High School in Texas. He doesn’t have much professional experience yet due to a “balky knee” that limited him to 9 games of Rookie ball, but he’s also only 20 years old. Baseball America had Lange listed as the No. 16 prospect in the Padres’ system and though FanGraphs hasn’t updated its Padres list for 2022, he ranked No. 6 last year.
Voit was a sensation after coming over to the Yankees in a savvy move mainly focused on acquiring international free agency slot money from the Cardinals in July 2018. He seized an opportunity with Greg Bird on the shelf and quickly won his way into fans’ hearts with home run heroics. He clubbed 68 long balls across 281 games in 4 seasons with New York, including a league-best 22 in the shortened 2020 campaign. Unfortunately, Voit also struggled with injuries, and that spelled the end of his improbable time in New York.
We’ll have more to come soon. Best of luck in San Diego, Luke.