The New York Yankees are on top of the world right now.
After looking like a lost cause just a month or two ago, the team has completely turned things around.
In fact, if the season ended today, the Yankees would make the postseason.
Many of their bad problems are being replaced with good problems, like the fact that they have two quality players battling for the same defensive position.
On Wednesday, Voit explained why he thinks he deserves the job.
"I was Top 10 in MVP last year… I want to play. I know it's gonna be tough with Rizzo. I deserve to play just as much as he does. I led the league in home runs last year." -Luke Voit pic.twitter.com/sN7QgouxHW
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 18, 2021
Without actually saying it, Voit made it pretty clear that he feels that he’s the best option.
But it’s not exactly up to him.
Who should the Yankees put at first base?
Looking At Voit’s Case
Voit had an outstanding 2020 season.
He blasted a league-best 22 home runs over 56 games, and he added a .277 batting average, .948 OPS, and 156 OPS+.
The previous season, the sample size was bigger, and he still looked great.
He posted a slash line of .263/.378/.464 over 118 games, smashing 21 home runs and 21 doubles.
So, needless to say, his track record is impressive.
However, his 2021 campaign has been a rough one.
He has been on the injured list three different times, and as a result, he has only appeared in 39 games.
Understandably, the 26-year-old has had a hard time hitting his stride.
He’s batting just .241 with a .725 OPS.
Will those numbers cost him the job at first base?
It’s tough to say, but here’s something that will certainly work against him: his defensive metrics.
Voit has finished every year of his MLB career with a negative defensive WAR (excluding his 2018 campaign in which he played in just eight games).
Looking At Rizzo’s Case
Rizzo was one of New York’s major deadline additions this year.
He came into town and immediately lived up to expectations, batting. 281 with a .963 OPS over his first nine games with the team.
Unfortunately, his hot start got interrupted when he tested positive for COVID-19 more than a week ago.
Looking at his resume, the 32-year-old has always been a reliable player.
He has a career .269 batting average, .853 OPS, and 128 OPS+.
He has received MVP votes in five different seasons, even finishing as high as fourth in the race in the 2015 and 2016 campaigns.
As a four-time Gold Glover, he’s a much better defensive first baseman than Voit is.
That could be key.
Looking At The Obvious Solution
Look, at the end of the day, both Voit and Rizzo need to be in New York’s lineup.
It would be silly not to give both guys at-bats.
There’s a really simple solution to the whole dilemma: put Rizzo at first, make Voit the designated hitter, and move Giancarlo Stanton—who is typically the DH—to the outfield.
This solves virtually every problem.
It puts the better defensive first baseman (Rizzo) at first, and it relieves Voit (who has been very fragile this season) of any unnecessary defensive duties.
To make it all work, Stanton would only need to be serviceable in the outfield.
Is this the perfect Yankee lineup 😍
1. DJ 2B
2. Rizzo 1B
3. Judge RF
4. Gallo CF
5. Stanton LF
6. Voit DH
7. Gio 3B
8. Gary C
9. Gleyber SS
— The Boys of 161st Street (@The161Boys) August 18, 2021
The whole equation makes a lot of sense.