MLB transactions have come to a screeching halt due to the lockout, so rumors regarding major-league players are going to be sparse for the next few weeks or even months. However, some musings from before the lockout could still make their way to the public in the meantime.
One such rumor comes from the New York Post’s Joel Sherman, who noted in a column on Saturday that the Brewers at one point expressed interest in Yankees first baseman and designated hitter Luke Voit.
The exact nature of this interest is unknown. The Yankees were known to be shopping Voit at the trade deadline, so Milwaukee likely reached out at that time. In this particular piece, Sherman was speculating on potential trades that the Yankees could explore post-lockout, and he floated Lorenzo Cain’s name as a possibility while attaching the tidbit about Voit.
After the Boston Red Sox agreed to take on the rest of Jackie Bradley Jr.’s contract in the Hunter Renfroe trade, it is unlikely that the Brewers feel any sense of urgency to move Cain’s salary, especially because he has remained a productive player. Don’t count on a trade centered around Cain and Voit.
That said, Voit would immediately become one of Milwaukee’s best hitters if they were to acquire him. He is also under club control through the 2024 season via arbitration. The 30-year-old has a career 133 wRC+ and led the league with 22 home runs during the shortened 2020 season. Last year, a bone bruise and the trade deadline acquisition of Anthony Rizzo limited Voit to 68 games, and his wRC+ fell to 111. However, that still would have made him the third-best hitter on Milwaukee’s roster with at least 200 plate appearances.
The Brewers currently have Rowdy Tellez atop their depth chart at first base. Tellez posted a solid .272/.333/.481 line (112 wRC+) in 56 games after being acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays, and he demonstrated impressive coverage of the entire strike zone against high-velocity fastballs. Tellez’s effortless power and continually improving plate discipline make him a sleeper breakout pick for 2022, but Voit has a much more impressive track record. Furthermore, if the designated hitter is implemented for good in the National League with the new CBA, there would be plenty of opportunity for both players.
Whether or not anything develops between the Brewers and Yankees surrounding Voit, expect David Stearns and Matt Arnold to continue working to improve their position player depth. As the lockout continues, those moves will be in the form of minor-league deals. When it ends, the Brewers will resume adding to their major-league roster.
Statistics courtesy of FanGraphs