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Vogelsong Extended

January 12, 2012

Well there goes yet another one of my wistful fantasies. Instead of seeing Shaun Marcum in Giants ensemble next off-season, we’ll be seeing Vogelsong don the black and orange cap for at least another two seasons. The terms are 2 years, $8.3 million, and a club option for 2014 for the guy who has “from Day 1…been a Giant at heart.” And to my own surprise, I’m not at all upset with the move.

In the short run (2012), an excess $1-2 million of his arbitration salary does not significantly hurt the team. The FO is already content with the 25-man roster, the money will not stop Cain from re-signing, and the amount is close to negligible in regards to our financial status. In the long run (beyond 2012), this investment could pay some dividends. If Vogelsong performs like a 3rd starter next year, there is no doubt that he will have demanded a higher payout from the Giants or in free agency. And not only would he get more money, the Giants’ fiscal responsibility over him would have been guaranteed through 2014 instead of 2013,  assuming he gets his two-year deal after 2012. He’d be here until he’s 37, and we’d have to pay more to see it. Not only is our commitment to him mitigated, his club option gives us the flexibility to keep him moderately cheap for another year if we need a stopgap or just want to squeeze one last season out of him.

Now let’s assume that instead of keeping him, we let him walk after 2012. We’d technically lose both him and Cain, and not only will Cain be expensive, but so will the other great pitching talent that will be available on the market next year. We could pick up someone younger and better, but at the expense of Lincecum? How are we to pay for Tim and three other costly starters with bats to pursue? It would be quite convenient if we somehow had another decent pitcher eating up innings and playing for scraps that we didn’t have to worry about…oh. Yeah.

This mania about Vogelsong being a lock to play like a dud next year is overblown. His FIP last year was 3.67, and his BABIP of .280 doesn’t portray anything that says his 2012 is going to hell in a handbasket. Will he regress? More than likely, but not to the tune of an ERA on the wrong side of 4, I’m willing to bet. Vogelsong wasn’t a weekly miracle like Tim Tebow, who defied odds and statistics to win games. He was gritty, pitched hard, and usually managed to do more good than harm for us at the end of the day. Vogelsong, in my humble opinion, has the potential to pitch like a 3rd starter in the Giants’ 4th rotation spot, getting paid like the latter.

To expect Vogelsong to perform like a 4-5 starter is a bit farfetched I think, but even if he does, he’ll be getting paid accordingly. For what he’s earning, every decimal of ERA under 4 is just a bonus.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 30, 2012 6:22 PM

    100% agree.

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