Intriguing scuttlebutt out of Pittsburgh indicates that the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates have discussed Jameson Taillon and Josh Bell coming to the Bronx. What the return to Pittsburgh would be was not mentioned. Jameson Taillon to New York certainly makes sense for the Yankees, but Bell not so much. The Yankees are set at DH with Giancarlo Stanton and at first base with Luke Voit. On the other hand, the Yankees might see Voit as having extra value on the trade market.
Heard today from a couple sources that the Pirates and Yankees have had conversations involving Jameson Taillon and Josh Bell. Unsure on seriousness or scope, but it’s an interesting match.— Jason Mackey (@JMackeyPG) December 9, 2020
So the Yankees might be looking to buy low on Bell and sell high on Voit. If that is the case, might the Milwaukee Brewers be a viable trade partner? Milwaukee could use a proven and consistent option at first base. While Daniel Vogelbach had a great month for the Brew Crew, Voit was one of the most dangerous bats in baseball in 2020. He has also shown himself to be a dangerous bat over the past three seasons, which offers confidence to any club looking to add him.
The big first baseman burst on to the scene in 2018 after being traded to New York from the St. Louis Cardinals. In just 161 plate appearances, he hit 15 home runs. In 2019, the only season he had over 500 plate appearances in his career, he was good. He posted a posted a 126 wRC+ and slashed .263/.378/.464. He hit 21 home runs that season. In 2020 he went deep 22 times and put up a wRC+ of 152. Those 22 home runs led all of baseball. Plus take a look at his “expected” statistics. They were elite in 2020.
Whether Voit is 2019 Luke Voit or 2020 Luke Voit is a question to ponder, but both are good. It is just the 2020 version of Luke Voit is dominant, and that would be the version the Yankees would be trying to sale into the marketplace. Any package to get Voit would likely result in the Brewers sending players to New York from their major league roster. Their minor league assets would only be part of a deal, not the significant pieces.
Or maybe I am wrong. There is one New York Yankees writer that suggested Aaron Ashby and Corey Ray for Voit would move the needle. If that is a viable trade option then right-handed power at first base is certainly something not valued among the 30 major league teams.
Voit does have value, and he would be a valuable addition to the Brewers. Voit hitting behind Christian Yelich would lengthen the Brewers’ lineup significantly. Yelich would see more pitches to hit. Keston Hiura could hit in front of Yelich or somewhere behind Voit, which would take some pressure off of him. Voit would take pressure off of others looking to bounce back in 2021 as well like Avisail Garcia and Omar Narvaez.
The Milwaukee Brewers absolutely need a hitter of significance to be able to hang with the upper echelons of the National league, most specifically the Dodgers and Braves. With their starting pitching, bullpen, and likelihood of multiple boucebacks in 2021, the Brewers are going to compete for the National League Central. A bat like Luke Voit inserted into their lineup puts the Milwaukee Brewers into another conversation.
Baseball statistics courtesy of Fangraphs