The San Francisco Giants should — no, need to — re-sign starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong at the end of 2013 because what are their other options, really?
Not taking anything away from Vogelsong, who has been a mainstay in the Giants’ rotation since reacquiring him three seasons ago, but there really shouldn’t be any discussion on whether to ink him to another contract.
Look at what he did Sunday. He only threw eight of the best innings he’s thrown all season, just his third start since breaking his pitching hand in May. And he did it against the Pittsburgh Pirates, who have since dropped to a tie for first place in the NL Central after Vogelsong’s brilliant afternoon performance.
Sure, Vogelsong did not have a very successful start to the 2013 season after pitching for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. He came into the season with an incredibly flat fastball, most likely a sign of a dead arm from pitching competitively in March. He allowed no less than three runs in each of his first eight starts of the 2013 season, a far cry from the shutdown pitcher that helped the Giants win the NL West and World Series.
Vogelsong’s 2012 totals are as follows: 14-9, 3.37 ERA and a WHIP of 1.23, allowing just 17 home runs in 189.2 innings pitched. In 2011, he would have won the National League ERA title if it weren’t a shortage in inning requirement. And after a three-month stint on the DL with the broken hand, Vogelsong seems to be returning to his former self. His fastball has more zip and his location is much more on point. He’s giving up less hard-hit balls, and his runs allowed are the lowest they’ve been all season.
The best part about the way Vogelsong pitches for the Giants is that every game he hits the mound he is fully aware that he will not be receiving much run support. He often allows a run, or two or three, in the early innings but is phenomenal at buckling down to not allow any more runs to keep his weak offense in the game. This is the most admirable quality of Vogelsong’s game, and it is one the Giants front office needs to recognize when entering contract discussions.
Besides, are the Giants really going to invest a robust amount of money on another non-homegrown pitcher? (Looking at you, Barry Zito).
Vogelsong will always be a homegrown Giant. Though he did make appearances with the Pirates and pitched for a couple years in Japan, the feeling about Vogelsong in the Giants rotation will be that he has always belonged. And he belongs for a couple more seasons, at least.