So much for the Bird being the word. Instead, it’s all about Luke Voit.
Of all the deals Brian Cashman has pulled off over the past year, the trade that acquired the 27-year-old first baseman might be one of the best.
After being nothing more than a fringe player for the St. Louis Cardinals over the past two seasons that saw him make multiple trips between the majors and triple-A, Voit has suddenly rocketed his way to the starting job with the New York Yankees.
In 70 games with the Cardinals from 2017-2018, Voit batted just .240 with five home runs and 21 RBI. It was an underwhelming showing from a player that possessed the promise of developing into an above-average power hitter in the majors.
Yet his promise was good enough for the Cardinals to get Chasen Shreve prior to the league’s Jul. 31 non-waiver trade deadline despite his struggles. With Greg Bird battling through injuries and another horrendous year at the dish, Voit’s arrival provided the Yankees with at least another option.
Considering Bird is batting just .197 this year after batting .190 in 2017, New York didn’t have much to lose when it came to giving Voit a chance.
So far, Voit has made the most of his chance and then some as he easily wrenched the starting first-base job away from Bird.
In 19 games for the Yankees, Voit is batting .322 with seven home runs and 15 RBI.
Three of those home runs have come in his last three games with the last two providing monumental lifts for his club against the Oakland Athletics, who are hot on New York’s tail for the top spot in the American League Wild Card.
In the series opener, his two-run shot tied the game at three after CC Sabathia ran into early trouble, though it wasn’t enough as Oakland came away with the victory:
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 3, 2018
In the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s game, he crushed a go-ahead solo home run that sparked a Yankees 5-1 victory while ensuring they would stay 4.5 games up on Oakland in the Wild Card race:
? TIE GAME NO MORE ?
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) September 5, 2018
While Aaron Boone doesn’t necessarily have a difficult job managing one of the best teams in baseball, his conundrum at first base has become crystal clear over the past month.
Luke Voit is the starting first baseman of the New York Yankees unless this initial performance is just a flash in the pan or if Greg Bird or any other player can out-perform him.
Granted, it would be unfair to assume that he could keep up this current pace where he is putting up 162-game averages of 56 home runs through his first 19 games. But the early returns have been nothing but sterling for Voit.