Luke Voit became a fan favorite during his brief time with the San Diego Padres. Now that the Nationals have non-tendered the first baseman, could he make a return to San Diego?
Even with his offensive struggles at times, his charisma, power, and, yes, chest “moss” made for a lovable clubhouse character.
At the plate, it wasn’t all doom and gloom for the burly righty.
After a slow start, he began to head toward his career norms. He smacked 13 home runs with a solid 113 OPS+ in 82 games in San Diego. His hard contact rate of 40.1 percent with the Padres was actually higher than his career average of 39.7. His barrel rate was in the 94th percentile, according to Baseball Savant.
Voit fell victim to the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the Padres trying to trade away Eric Hosmer at the deadline. Originally, A.J. Preller and the Padres had included Hosmer in the trade package to acquire Juan Soto from the Washington Nationals. Hosmer possessed a stiff no-trade clause and vetoed his inclusion in the agreed-upon deal. That forced the Padres’ hand to include another first baseman/designated hitting slugger since the Nationals were also parting with Josh Bell in the deal. Voit drew the short stick.
Luke Voit takes a trip to the top basket. 😳 pic.twitter.com/3C6ASuiZRL
— MLB (@MLB) June 12, 2022
Many fans were disappointed at the news. However, at Petco Park specifically, Voit experienced somewhat of a power outage. In 40 games at Petco Park last season, he batted .199 with a .683 OPS.
This begs the question- if the Padres wanted to bring him back, would Voit even want to return?
Given his high barrel rate with a slightly-below-average .298 BABIP, Voit may have experienced some plain bad luck in San Diego. He seemed well-liked in the clubhouse and was a team player. Whether he wants to return might be up to him and whether or not hitting at Petco Park is enough of a turn-off.
The fans themselves have already chimed in.
— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) August 19, 2022
Certainly, he is not the most heavy-hitting designated hitter or first base option out there for the Padres. Brandon Drury and Josh Bell both played first base for the Padres at the end of last season. The Friars have also been linked to former MVP Jose Abreu, who would be an excellent addition to the middle of the order.
Frankly, going after Voit would either mean they wish to deploy him as a platoon with another first base/designated hitter type or that their options have become limited, and they need a cheap solution.
If Voit returns to San Diego, the best situation would be for him to be a platoon or full-time DH. The Padres possibly signing Abreu does not mean Voit cannot also come to San Diego. Abreu played 128 games in the field at first base, with serviceable defensive metrics.
The main questions are, does Voit even want to return? As well as, what role would he play for the Padres? As it stands now, the Padres need more power and a first baseman. While not being the top option, Voit fills both of those needs.