First baseman Luke Voit, who’d been with the Mets on a minor league contract, has exercised an out clause in his deal, tweets Mike Mayer of Metsmerized. Opt-out dates in minor league deals, once triggered, typically give the team 48 hours to either select the player’s contract or release him. Mayer specifies that Voit has already been granted his release and is once again a free agent.
Voit, 32, had a dismal showing with the Brewers earlier this season, batting just .221/.284/.265 — albeit in a tiny sample of 74 trips to the plate. He’s been nothing short of outstanding with the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse since signing there, slashing a hefty .264/.415/.643 (155 wRC+) with 14 home runs and a massive 18.9% walk rate in 167 plate appearances. Voit has fanned at a 26.8% clip in Syracuse, which is a clear red flag, but punchouts have always been part of the slugger’s profile, even during his peak years with the Yankees.
That peak, while brief, was excellent. From 2018-20, Voit tallied 892 plate appearances with the Yankees and batted .279/.372/.543 with 57 home runs — including an MLB-leading 22 round-trippers during the shortened 2020 season. His 2021 season was ruined by injuries. A meniscus tear in his left knee during spring training eventually required surgery. He returned in mid-May but made it just two weeks before suffering a Grade 2 oblique strain. Voit raced back from that injury in far quicker fashion than most who suffer an oblique strain of that severity, and within three weeks he was back on the shelf with inflammation in his surgically repaired knee. He returned from the IL once again but was placed back on the shelf in September — again due to knee pain.
Since the end of that outstanding 2020 season, Voit has taken 883 plate appearances — nearly identical to his tally during that three-year peak — and batted .229/.311/.399 (100 wRC+). While he was prone to strikeouts earlier in his career, his 31.7% mark from 2021-23 is considerably higher than the 26.2% clip he posted from 2017-20.
Other clubs will now have to determine whether Voit’s production in Syracuse marks a legitimate improvement in his approach and contact abilities or whether it’s merely some small-sample success against lower-caliber pitching. Someone will surely give him a look, however, even if it’s only on another minor league deal at first. With the trade deadline in the rearview mirror, there are very few paths to acquiring additional talent and depth to prepare for a postseason push. Voit’s performance in Syracuse and track record of past performance will get him another opportunity.