When starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong returned from his broken hand injury in early August, he picked up right where he left off by giving the San Francisco Giants a quality outing. However, he has regressed over his last four starts, raising this question: Is re-signing Vogelsong the best option for the 2014 Giants rotation?
Saturday’s start against the New York Yankees was one of his worst this season. He allowed five earned runs over five innings, striking out just one, bringing his record to 3-6 on the year. Vogelsong has never been a strikeout pitcher, but they have come few and far between as of late with just seven over his last five starts. As this season dwindles down, Vogelsong surely isn’t doing anything to help his cause.
Giants beat writer Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area even went as far as to dub Vogelsong the right-handed version of Barry Zito. Zing.
The Giants’ front office has a detrimental habit of nostalgically re-signing playoff heroes — see Aubrey Huff, Cody Ross and Pat Burrell. At the end of 2013, GM Brian Sabean has to make a decision: offer Vogelsong his $6.5 million option or give him a $300,000 buyout. If his contract is bought out, it doesn’t necessarily mean his career with the Giants is done, however. The two parties could still come to an agreement on a contract that is worth much less than his option.
If Sabean does indeed re-sign Vogelsong, he could easily be added to the aforementioned list of regrettable re-signings if his pitching does not improve. My guess is that Vogelsong will receive the contract buyout then almost immediately come to an agreement with the Giants on a new and less expensive contract. He loves the organization for giving him a second chance in MLB after spending three seasons in the the Japanese pro circuit. He’ll do what it take to return to San Francisco, even if it means taking a significant pay-cut.
Vogelsong is beloved in San Francisco, but if he doesn’t turn things around next season, it could be his last in orange and black.