The San Francisco Giants are reportedly close to reinserting gutty right-handed pitcher Ryan Vogelsong into their starting rotation, according to Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). The proposed one-year deal would solidify the Giants’ rotation and also enable general manager Brian Sabean to prioritize bolstering the offense.
The Giants often emphasize building a formidable 25-man roster based on two key components: pitching and defense. However, San Francisco’s anemic offensive attack often sparked early-game deficits last season that were difficult to overcome. The Giants aren’t the brand of team designed to come from behind. Their run manufacturing approach to success on offense will not transpire into another World Series triumph.
Vogelsong embodies the Giants’ gritty attitude, but isn’t a perennial difference-maker. He’s an economical solution at the back end of the Giants’ rotation, which ideally allows San Francisco to concentrate remaining funds on acquiring a legitimate bat that can help propel the offense.
According to Chris Haft of MLB.com, the deal could net Vogelsong as much as $8 million if he eclipses several incentive-based contract elements. That figure is grossly more expensive than the $6.5 million option the Giants previously declined earlier this offseason. However, Vogelsong’s low base salary provides some degree of financial security for the Giants, who will not be forced to dish out big money to their fifth starter if he fails to post high quality numbers.
Vogelsong was terrible during an injury-plagued season in 2013, posting a 4-6 record with a 5.73 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 103.2 innings. He was masterful in the two seasons prior, though, recording a cumulative record of 27-16 and sub-1.25 WHIP. If Vogelsong can ascertain statistics similar to what he was able to accomplish from 2011-12, the Giants could claim the biggest steal of the offseason.
Still, it’s more likely for Vogelsong to post numbers more similar to his 2013 campaign than previous seasons at this juncture of his career. The 36-year-old journeyman experienced a resurgence during the 2011 season, but has seemingly fallen back to Earth. He’s a hard-working tough guy who fully dedicates himself to whatever it takes to be successful, although work ethic doesn’t define talent.
Vogelsong owns a 41-44 lifetime record and career 4.52 ERA. He’s ultimately a middle-of-the-road type of pitcher that San Francisco is banking on to reclaim mastery. It’s not a bad move, especially considering other pressing needs, but the deal somewhat counteracts the Giants’ indestructible mantra. If the “Giants Way” is to win with pitching and defense, reinserting Vogelsong into the starting rotation isn’t a move that reaffirms San Francisco’s supposed strengths.