Yankees: How The Voit Vs. Rizzo Clash Disappears In The Offseason

Luke Voit: An MVP 2020 Season

The Yankees have the luxury to have two high-quality first basemen in Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit. In the offseason, that won’t last long.

The Yankees will ride out the 2021 season, juggling at-bats between Luke Voit and Anthony Rizzo while counting their blessings.

Everything changes, however, when the offseason arrives, even if Yankees manager Aaron Boone can keep them both happy with sufficient playing time.

Like it or not, player personnel decisions made by a team’s front office usually have a financial reason behind them, and the Yankees are no different.

Given the Yankees’ roster today, Spotrac shows the Yankees with a $93 million soft spot before reaching what is expected to be the 2022 luxury tax limit.

Assuming the Yankees have no reason not to be active in the free-agent Class Of 2022 to improve the team, the obvious question becomes how best to use that “surplus”.

Aside from pitching, always a target, the Yankees need a shortstop and a centerfielder.

A perusal of the available free-agent centerfielders shows nothing the Yankees will be interested in, leaving only the trade market as an alternative.

Shortstops, on the other hand, are ripe for the picking, though none of them will come cheap, and whether the Yankees decide on Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, or Corey Seager, the hit will be $30 million per year on the payroll.

Yankees: Making The “Best” Choice

With $60 million or so left in the bank, this brings us back to Rizzo and Voit.

Let’s take Luke Voit first. The team control of Voit through 2024. He’s earning $4.175 this season, and 2022 will be the first of his arbitration-eligible seasons.

This should be attractive to the Yankees, even if Voit continues to climb the salary ladder in each of those three years.

Yankees Anthony Rizzo fitting right in (Chicago Tribune)
Yankees Anthony Rizzo fitting right in (Chicago Tribune)

That being said, the overriding issue with Voit is his ability to stay on the field. Built like a s-t brickhouse, susceptible to pulls and strains of football-like muscles, Voit must, at least, finish out the year with no setbacks to even be in the conversation.

Anthony Rizzo presents a different problem for the Yankees to decide on.

At 31, Rizzo is playing near the peak of his prime years. He will ask for and probably command a contract spanning a minimum of four years, with an option for a fifth year.

Rizzo has a salary this year of $16.5 million. Reasonably, that number will grow to $22-25 million per year.

Notably, when he was traded to the Yankees, Rizzo while expressing his desire to be a part of a playoff-bound team, was not bashful in admitting “his heart is in Chicago and with Cubs fans”.

Yankees Have The Ball In Their Court

The ball stays in the Yankees’ court, though, as they can leave Voit on the shelf until arbitration figures are exchanged (usually in Mid-January), and in the meantime to see where they are with Rizzo, and whoever they pick for their shortstop.

Yankees Gleyber Torres: It just hasn't happened
Yankees Gleyber Torres: It just hasn’t happened

Where is Gleyber Torres? Good question, but for whatever reason, and it is an enigma, he is not the player the Cubs or Yankees thought they had bought.

Dependant, of course, on signing one of the free-agent shortstops, Torres is someone the Yankees can hang out there as trade bait while expecting a good return.

As much as Voit and Rizzo are playing for this year with the goal of propelling the team into the playoffs and beyond, their instincts carry them forward, and the future of their careers.

The Yankees players, as they continue to roll, on the backs of Voit, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gerrit Cole to their ninth consecutive win against the Twins this afternoon, are only focused on the task before them.

But for the front office and, in particular, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman, his job is to always be looking forward, even in the face of moves he is forced to make today.

In that light then, he has to be thinking about how he can best spend $93 million when the World Series is concluded…

Here’s What Readers Are Saying…

Angel Rivera It could happen, keep Stanton in the outfield. Luke DH

Mike Harrington Think it’s very possible that Rizzo goes back to the Cubs, he’s royalty there and beloved by those fans, in that case, Voit has no worries. Yet again though, if we manage to win #28, maybe they work out a deal, and you end up either trading Voit for a quality piece like a starter, or they start getting him to work at other positions next spring, like Leftfield so they can Juggle him more.

Edmund Jones Stop the B.S. there was no controversy or hard feelings! They are grown men, it’s a business. They both get it. Competition is what they thrive on! Stop with the baloney that never was…never said that never meant that – it’s nothing but healthy competition between two professional athletes.

David Edelman Resign Rizzo, package Voit, Hicks, and a prospect for a right-hand hitting, non-slugging center fielder. Anything you can do to induce someone to take Hicks off our hands. Quite the challenge if Cashman can do it.

Gerard Canest Optimum lineup has Judge in center Gallo in left Stanton in right Voit / Rizzo alternate 1st & DH, Velasquez/ Gleyber alt at short.. Odor/ Urshela alternate at 3rd. Lemahieu at second and Sanchez catching.

Damian Vaudo I think it goes this way: Outfield is Stanton in Right, Judge in Center Gallo in Left. The infield is Rizzo @ 1st, Lemahieu @ 2nd, Leave the kid(Velasquez) at Shortstop Gio or Odor @ 3rd. If not the kid then, Lemahieu @ 3rd, Odor @ 2nd, and Urshela @ shortstop. What do you think? Readers always decide.

Len Whitt Assan Allah Sr. I’d rather have the Gold Glove at first! We’ll see what happens. Assan Allah Sr. Len Whitt No disrespect to Rizzo intended. I just believe in loyalty to those that been carrying the load. Luke has done nothing, but what’s been asked of him & then some. He may be average at first, but he hasn’t cost us any games, because of his defense. Good exchange – lovin’ it.

Derek Blackman Consensus says resign Rizzo, and have to offer Voit a 1-year deal with a player or team option for 2023. Maybe $12 million for that one year. And the option could be worth up to $10 million. So, the platoon continues for 162 games?

John Carbone Rizzo’s production has been in decline since 2019. Voit is the better hitter at this point, and for their respective careers. There’s no DH in the National League parks, like Dodger stadium. That means 4/7 games no DH. I want the better hitter in the lineup all WS games. That’s Voit. So, there’s no DH in the NL league next year. Not a good bet.

Don Jones Luke will go as he is injury prone unless we can not sign Rizzo

Wayne Unger I don’t see any of the free-agent shortstops getting anything close to 30 million a year and I don’t see Rizzo getting over 20 million a year unless he takes fewer years.

Mitch Bondo Bandalan It’s absurd that fans think the Yankees need to sign a high-priced SS when we have seen what internally they have. This off-season will be about balancing out the roster of energy cheaper players to slot with our higher-priced players; plus foreseeing what players come up for FA sooner than later. Rizzo is a fit but only for the right price. That determination has that domino effect on Voit. Hey, if Velazquez fits the bill, I’m all in.

Closing Published Comments And Final Thoughts

Page length says close comments.

I never put this stuff out there believing it’s the gospel, and I always look forward to the exchange from readers, as is the case here…

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Steve Contursi
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Author: stevecontursi

I am an amateur writer with a passion for baseball and all things Yankees and Mets.