Could The Pittsburgh Pirates Acquire Luke Voit?
By Noah Wright
The Pittsburgh Pirates may have an opportunity to acquire a slugger from the New York Yankees to play at first base for a handful of seasons.
We’re in the final hours of the trade deadline, yet there’s still to be a ton of action as we near the closing moments. The Pittsburgh Pirates will look to send off some of their remaining trade pieces such as Richard Rodriguez and Chris Stratton.
Though one of the teams that have made many trades with the Pirates throughout their history, the New York Yankees, could once again be trade partners. The Yankees are looking to cut some salary, and free up some space at first base now that they’ve acquired longtime Chicago Cubs’ first baseman, Anthony Rizzo. That player they’re looking to trade is slugger Luke Voit, someone the Pirates should at least inquire about.
Voit hasn’t had the best of seasons this year. He’s been injured and only has a .698 OPS through 122 plate appearances. The slugger has only appeared in 29 games this year, but this shouldn’t take away from what he has done with the Yankees from 2018 to 2020.
Throughout 892 plate appearances in those three seasons, Voit became one of MLB’s biggest power threats. All told, he hit .279/.372/.543 with a .385 wOBA, and 144 wRC+. Voit hit a total of 57 home runs, which only Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres, and Gary Sanchez hit more between these 3 seasons. He’s consistently been well above average in terms of exit velocity and hard-hit rate. Though he’s hitting more ground balls this year than compared to 2018-2020, he’s usually been great at avoiding grounders while posting a solid line drive and fly-ball rate.
Now Voit would give the Pirates an affordably controlled slugger up through 2024. That should easily reach into when the Pirates start contending. His salary this year is $4.7 million. With the Yankees shed salary, the Bucs could take on the relatively inexpensive contract to acquire a potential slugger who would be here for quite a while.
The question is what would the Pirates have to give up? The Yankees are likely in the relief pitching market. They already acquired Clay Holmes from the Pirates for a two-prospect package. But after that, they traded both Luis Cesa and Justin Wilson for a player to be named later. In all likelihood, it was a salary dump in order to drop Wilson’s contract for bigger moves, the likes of which we’ve seen with the acquisitions of the aforementioned Rizzo, as well as former Texas Rangers’ slugger Joey Gallo.
If the Pirates are willing to take on Voit’s contract while sending either Richard Rodriguez or Chris Stratton in return, and paying part of whichever relief pitcher they send back, they may be able to acquire Luke Voit. Paying most or all of either Rodriguez’s or Stratton’s contract while taking on Voit’s salary may even end with the Pirates getting a low-level prospect with a high ceiling and 20-years-old or younger, or a more MLB ready player like Estevan Florial or Albert Abreu.