The San Diego Padres swung a trade on Friday for former Yankees slugger Luke Voit.
There was much hand-wringing among Padres fans over the last week over the lack of moves as option after option fell to other teams in free agency and trades.
Wring those hands no longer.
The Padres made a deal with the New York Yankees for their first baseman and designated hitter, Luke Voit.
Breaking: Luke Voit traded to Padres
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 18, 2022
Bob Melvin said Luke Voit is expected to DH and play some first base against left-handers. He added he already spoke with Eric Hosmer and that Hosmer is “all in.”
— Dennis Lin (@dennistlin) March 18, 2022
The Padres have acquired Luke Voit from the New York Yankees.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) March 18, 2022
The Padres were rumored to be in on the 2021 World Series MVP Jorge Soler. However, when healthy, Voit offers a much more consistent bat. Since the start of 2020, Voit has a better OPS, OPS+ and higher WAR than Soler.
The Missouri native also led the major leagues in home runs during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season with 22. He has hit at least 20 home runs in two of the last three seasons. The biggest concern with Voit is health. He played just 68 games last season and is yet to play more than 118 games in any of his five years thus far. However, the power is too tantalizing to pass up.
The New York Yankees today announced that they have acquired RHP Justin Lange from the San Diego Padres in exchange for INF Luke Voit.
— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) March 18, 2022
The return appears to be minor league right-hander Justin Lange. He was drafted by the Padres in 2020 and made nine starts for them at the Rookie level in last year’s Arizona Complex League.
Voit can also spell Eric Hosmer against lefties at first base. The 6-foot-3, 255-pounder fares much better against southpaw pitchers than Hosmer, with a career .859 OPS compared to Hosmer’s .662 mark.
In 2020, his last fully healthy season, Voit was in the 84th percentile for max exit velocity, 92nd percentile for expected WOBA and 95th percentile for expected slugging. He garnered AL MVP votes that year, with his league-leading homer total as well as a .948 OPS and 157 OPS+.
The Friars may not yet be done acquiring big league talent. There is still a gaping hole in the outfield, a position Voit does not play. However, the lineup just got a little deeper and a little scarier with Voit in the middle of it.
The new Padres slugger is under contract through the 2024 season and is entering his first year of arbitration.
If he can stay healthy, the 31-year-old has 30-homer power. Padres general manager A.J. Preller finally made a move and Voit should bring some fireworks to Petco Park this season.