After opting out, Luke Voit is staying with the Brewers by signing a one-year contract
PHOENIX – It might seem impossible that a couple of days sitting by the pool, sipping beverages and watching college basketball would be stressful, but Luke Voit put that to the test over the weekend.
Two days after opting out of his minor-league deal and spending his down time away from the team laying out in the Arizona sun, Voit signed a one-year contract with the Brewers on Monday that includes a club option for 2024.
"Just a good day, finally," a relieved Voit said Monday. "I feel like I haven’t had a lot of good stuff happen to me in baseball lately, so happy to have a fresh start."
Voit was the American League home run champion as recently as 2020 and was one of the best hitters in all of baseball over a three-year span beginning in 2018.
Injuries have hampered Luke Voit in recent seasons
The last two seasons, however, haven't been nearly as kind to Voit.
He battled injuries in 2021 with the New York Yankees as he appeared in only 68 games and saw his on-base-plus slugging dip from .948 the previous season to .764. He was traded to the San Diego Padres, where he had a .733 OPS and 13 homers in 82 games on a contending club.
At the trade deadline, though, Voit was sent to the Washington Nationals in the Juan Soto deal despite not being involved in the initially agreed-upon trade between San Diego and Washington. When Eric Hosmer, who was part of the deal for salary purposes, vetoed the trade because he didn't want to go to the rebuilding Nationals, Voit was informed he was going to Washington to complete the deal instead.
Instead of competing for a World Series in a frenzied environment, Voit was sent to one of the worst teams in baseball. Then, during the off-season, that team non-tendered him and he struggled after to find a club that would give him a major-league contract.
"This baseball world is very humbling and it’s humbled me a lot this year," Voit said.
Voit and the Brewers work out a deal just before spring training is over
Voit, 32, signed as a non-roster invitee with Milwaukee at the beginning of spring training with an opt-out date of March 16. But he agreed to push that deadline to March 24, at which point he did opt out of his contract.
Voit was free to negotiate with other teams during that time but he and the Brewers were able to rework a deal by Monday morning.
"There were (other) opportunities," Voit said. "I sat by the pool a lot and watched a lot of March Madness. At the end of the day, it was just the right situation. It was figuring out some last-second things and getting the right deal done. I’m just happy we got it done and I got a little all-star break during spring training, so it’s not he worst thing in the world."
More:Brewers have added one of their top prospects, Brice Turang, to opening day roster
More:Rule 5 draft pick Gus Varland has made the Milwaukee Brewers roster
Voit is 'locked in' offensively as he enters season with the Brewers
Voit, in his seventh year in the majors, earned his way onto the roster this spring by hitting .316 with two homers and a .859 OPS. He spoke to reporters about how he felt healthy and in tune with his swing once again. The Brewers saw the same thing.
"We watched a lot of old video and new video and just kind of getting a sense of him and how he’s feeling," Brewers general manager Matt Arnold said. "He’s locked in right now. He’s in a great spot."
"Luke gives us some insurance and he gives us the shot at a big bat," manager Craig Counsell said. "He's been a very good offensive player in this league."
Voit will primarily be a backup to Rowdy Tellez at first base
Voit will begin the year in a reserve role primarily, with Rowdy Tellez the incumbent starter at first base. Voit will see some time at designated hitter, as well.
"I know those at-bats at the beginning will probably be a bit slow, but that’s also not the (only reason) why I'm here," Voit said. "I’m also here to be a good leader and help be here for the guys, help the guys win day in, day out. I’m just going to try and find my spot on this team in whatever role comes about.
"I just got to keep hitting, man. If you keep hitting, you get more opportunities and I know Craig will give me plenty of them, so I just got to take advantage of them."
Our subscribers make this reporting possible. Please consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Journal Sentinel at jsonline.com/deal.
DOWNLOAD THE APP: Get the latest news, sports and more
This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Luke Voit signs one-year contract with the Brewers