Luke Voit awaits his Yankees fate as lockout continues

TAMPA — Luke Voit has spent the offseason like many others: waiting for the lockout to end and to find out if he’s still going to play first base for the Yankees.

“I want to play first base for the Yankees,’’ Voit said. “If that happens, great. If not, I’ll go somewhere else.”

When asked if he expected to stick with the Bronx Bombers, Voit responded, “I expect to. I’m the only first baseman on the depth chart right now.”

That’s because Anthony Rizzo, who took Voit’s job last year after a July trade from the Cubs, is now a free agent.

General manager Brian Cashman announced prior to the MLB lockout that first base was among the areas of need on the roster. That will still be the case whenever the work stoppage comes to an end and the Yankees look to fill out their roster, with possible additions at shortstop, center field, the rotation and potentially catcher, as well.

There are several directions the Yankees could go in at first base.

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Luke Voit still awaits whether he will return to the Yankees in 2022.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post

Voit is likely due about $5.4 million in arbitration next season, and is coming off a rough year in which he dealt with a torn meniscus in his left knee that required surgery during spring training. He later spent time on the IL for inflammation in his left knee, as well as a strained right oblique.

Voit’s production fell off after he led the majors in homers in the COVID-shortened 2020 season and he was shut down by his knee injury at the end of last year.

The 30-year-old insists he’s fully healthy now and will be ready for spring training if it starts on time, which would be in less than two weeks for position players.

Still, he’s coming off a season in which he played just 68 games and his OPS dropped from .948 to .764, his worst output as a Yankee.

The injuries led the Bronx Bombers to go after Rizzo and a reunion remains a distinct possibility.

Luke Voit
Voit spent most of 2021 out with injuries.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

The Yankees could also look to acquire Matt Olson from the A’s in a trade or sign free agent Freddie Freeman, who surprisingly didn’t get a new deal from Atlanta before the lockout.

If the Yankees end up with any of those bats, Voit will almost certainly be traded.

For now, he remains a Yankee.

“I love playing in New York,’’ Voit said. “The fans love me up there and I love them. I hope it can happen and I can stay, but I don’t control it.”

And while he understands why the Yankees went out and got Rizzo last year, he is confident he can still contribute in The Bronx.

“I get why they did it,’’ Voit said of the trade. “I was hurt and on the [IL] a bunch last year and I get that. They want the lefty bats, too. But I also have done my fair share there and had some really good at-bats over the last four years.”

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