Padres Swing a Trade for Yankees Slugger Luke Voit

Friars send pitching prospect to NY for 2020 home run leader

The Padres are fully aware of the fact they need to add more offense. They knew that even before Fernando Tatis Jr., who had wrist surgery this week, would miss three months (at least).

They missed out in their bids for free agents Nelson Cruz, Seiya Suzuki and Freddie Freeman, and didn't really make a push for Kyle Schwarber or Kris Bryant. With the open market options dwindling, Padres general manager A.J. Preller chose another route.

San Diego made a trade with the Yankees, acquiring 1B/DH Luke Voit for minor league pitcher Justin Lange. It's a high-risk, high-reward move for the Friars that's intriguing on multiple levels.

Voit is a massive human being. At 6'3" and 255 pounds, he's a weight room demon who feasts on fastballs. Voit led the Major Leagues with 22 home runs in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, showcasing his massive potential. But, he's been sidetracked by injury woes.

Voit was placed on the Injured List four times in 2021 alone. He had surgery on his left meniscus in March, a knee injury that put him on the shelf two more times later in the year. In between that, he sandwiched an oblique strain. In 2019 he made two more IL trips for an abdominal strain and a sports hernia.

The Yankees grew tired of waiting to see if Voit was going to get through a full season healthy so they re-signed Anthony Rizzo to a two-year deal, which made Voit expendable. If the right-handed masher is able to stay healthy he's a 40-homer talent with a manageable salary. Voit will make $5.25 million in 2022, then has two more years of arbitration before becoming a free agent in 2025.

While he does have 60 games of designated hitter experience, Voit is a first baseman by trade, which inevitably leads to the Eric Hosmer situation. The Padres have been trying desperately to unload Hosmer's contract to free up some spending space.

Voit's arrival could mean Preller has something in the works to clear up that spot on the infield. Or it could just be a way to add a big power bat as an almost exclusive DH option which, given Voit's history of knee problems, might help keep him healthy.

On the way back to New York is Lange, a 20-year-old who was a first-round draft pick for San Diego (34th overall) in 2020. He has a fastball in the high 90s and a lot of upside but is a long way from being Major League-ready. Lange appeared in nine games of rookie ball last year and struck out 29 hitters in 22 innings.

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