Vogelsong last piece to 2015 roster?
Now, it was quite a change of events over that 72-hour period last weekend. There were multiple sources that had Vogey just inches from inking in Houston with him making the trip out there and spending significant time with Astros' brass. Instead, the Giants persuaded Vogey back with a base salary of $4M that will keep the 37 year-old in 2015. Right now, however, it's not quite certain as to what the popular right-hander's role on the staff will entail. With questions surrounding 3/5 of the Giants rotation heading into February though, having Vogey around as insurance and possibly someone to stretch the rotation when need be may not be such a bad plan. I could see Vogey and Lincecum in a private battle (to avoid an publicity) for the fifth spot in spring training, but with Yusmiero Petit thriving in that long releive/spot start role, what would happen to the loser of that battle? My guess is the Giants will see how the first half of spring goes, then depending on where players stand, someone may be DL'd with a phantom injury until the best-5 emerge and Bochy can solidify his staff. But, assuming all are healthy coming out of March and everyone, including Lincecum and Petit are pitching well, it would seem the only plausible scenario would be to slide Vogey into the pen to start the year with Hunter Strickland possible starting down in Fresno.
It's still a tad early to speculate but who knows, maybe Tim Lincecum lights it up this spring and regains at least enough trade value to where the Giants maybe find a taker. Even as cliche as it sounds though, you really can never have too much pitching, but with Yusmiero Petit already locked into that long-relief/spot start role, it could force Vogey into a mid-reliever type of role, something which he hasn't done much in his career. Guys might be entering new territory and may need to put their ego in check. Obviously Tim Lincecum makes way more since in short relief and in my opinion would thrive there and possibly give the Giants a closing option should Santiago Casilla falter, but I don't see the Giants giving up on that $17.5M in the rotation (at least until June). It is a contract year, he is just 30 and has apparently tried some new things this offseason, so who knows, maybe he becomes a 15-game winner again with a sub-4 ERA. We can hope right? Heck, a big year, with his Cy Young track record, could land himself a deal in the 5 year/$70M ballpark in this market (see Brandon McCarthy, Francisco Liriano, Ervin Santana), giving him plenty of incentive. A lot would have to go right for his value to reach that staus again but stranger things have happened.
My guess though is that no matter what happens, Vogey will find his way into the rotation for at least 20 starts. The idea of a 6-man rotation, maybe even in the second half, could make since with the age of Huddy and Vogey mixed with Cain heatlth issues and Bumgarner workload concerns, but that is just so rare these days. I' still just really like the idea of making Lineceucm a short-reliever for his last year hear, even though he may hate it unless he was closing. I thing that's where his future is and he can be a solid weapon in that late role going multiple innings.
So, with January flying on by and just a few weeks before pitchers and catchers arrive in Arizona, the Giants' heavy lifting for the offseason appears to be finished, and if that is indeed the case, let's take a look at what exactly transpired:
Lost: Pablo Sandoval 3B (signed w/Boston), Michael Morse LF (signed w/Miami)
Added: Casey McGehee 3B (one-year deal from Miami), Nori Aoki LF(one-year deal from KC)
Now, looking at that Add/Lost list probably doesn't inspire most Orange and Black fans. They replaced 33 big flies (in which both Panda and Morse each had down power years) with a total of 5 between McGehee and Aoki in 2014 (though I would expect that to rise somewhat in 2015). In fairness, the RBI difference and OPS weren't that far off and while Panda has the edge defensively over McGehee at third, Aoki runs circles around Morse in left. But let's face it, the Giants not only lost a ton of power and run production from those two, but the impact those two guys had on opposing manager/pitcher stragiees. The fact of the matter is that unless Casey McGehee parties like it's '09/'10 all over again and Aoki reverts back into 2012 form, it's going to be a noticeable drop off offensively in those spots. Sure, a healthy Pagan and Belt for a full year will help, but this team does have some depth issues (although signing Aoki did help a ton).
Anyone would tell you they'd gladly take the Panda/Morse combo over the new regime, but it's not like you can really fault them for losing Panda and Morse. Pablo wanted out obviously wanted out and Morse, while entertaining and good for some homers and big hits while fitting perfectly into his role, certainly isn't a long term guy in the outfield. I'm just more so concerned with the inability to bring in a little bit more adequate replacements. If you've read us this winter, you know my push for Justin Upton well, then Allen Craig , but I must say I didn't dislike the Aoki signing, I would have liked it had they gone out entertained some of the more impacting third basemen to replace Pablo than McGehee, but it may not have been a realistic option without giving up Crick, Panik and Sussac. There were a ton of names from Pedro Alvarez to Will Middlebrooks, but the three I was most interested in were David Freese, Brett Lawrie and Lonnie Chisenhall.
Oh well, sometimes things don't work out exactly as hoped. The offseason isn't officially done, so I'm not ready to shell out grades quite yet. Who knows, they could surprise us with a late splash for a right handed left-fielder with some thump or someone else who can put balls in the seats, but I think they're going to enter the year with this team. See which of their needs becomes most pressing and go from there, which Sabean seems so well versed at doing.
Extras: The Giants officially cut-ties with Marco Scutaro earlier this week. Letting the 2012 pennant race/postseason stud go with just one year left on his deal and his future very much in doubt. They did so in order to make room for Nori Aoki on the 40-man... Speaking of 40-man, it's about that time of year where the yearly prospect lists for teams start hitting the wires and we here are the Giants Baseball Blog will present out top-10 along with 5 guys not in the mix to keep an eye on in 2015 and beyond and we hope to have that up by Friday, so do check back!