Vogelsong last piece to 2015 roster?
Now, it was quite a change of events over that 72-hour period last weekend. There were multiple, reliable sources that had Vogey in Houston and all but the T's crossed and the I's dotted on a one-year deal that would have relocated the 36 year-old. Instead, The Giants will pay Vogey a base salary of $4M in 2015 but as of right now, it's not quite certain as to what the fan-favorite'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 battle for the fifth spot in spring training, but with Yusmiero Petit already slotted into the long-relief role, where he's been a stud, 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 can ship him somewhere and open up that spot. I mean, the old saying goes that you can never have too much pitching, but with Yusmiero Petit already well versed in 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. Obviously Tim Lincecum makes way more since in short releif and in my opinion would thrive there, but I don't see the Giants giving up on that $17.5M 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? 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 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'd say trading or making Lineceucm a short-reliever would be best for the team if he proves unworthy of a rotation spot out of spring.
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, he Giants lost not only a lot of power and run production from those two but those two were guys that impacted pitchers strategies more so than the newbies and unless McGehee parties like it's 2010 all over again and Aoki reverts back into 2012 form, it's going to be a noticeable drop off offensively in those spots.
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!