Giants re-sign Ryan Vogelsong to one-year deal

Ezra Shaw

The Giants re-signed Ryan Vogelsong to a one-year deal on Friday, effectively ending the Giants' search for a fifth starter.

I wonder if Masahiro Tanaka thinks about us, too.

I'm torn. I like Vogelsong, the person. I liked Vogelsong, the pitcher. But last year was awful. The Giants are convinced it was a hiccup, a mixture of WBC fatigue and a freak injury. If they're right, then Vogelsong at one year and $5 million really is one of the better bargains in this inflated market.

I just wish I shared their confidence. A 35-year-old's hiccup can turn into a 36-year-old's death rattle pretty quickly. We might have already watched the brutal transformation, and I would have been okay if the Giants moved on to a different risky pitcher, mostly because it would have been different.

But pretend this pitcher's name was Mort Thames or Rogberto Gonzalez:

Year Age ERA GS IP ER HR BB SO ERA+ BB/9 SO/9
2011 33 2.71 28 179.2 54 15 61 139 129 3.1 7.0
2012 34 3.37 31 189.2 71 17 62 158 105 2.9 7.5
2013 35 5.73 19 103.2 66 15 38 67 58 3.3 5.8

The age is the reason that 2013 looks so bad. But as a risk/reward option, Vogelsong's right there with Josh Johnson or Phil Hughes. He doesn't throw as hard, so it seems as if there's less margin for error, but he's also a better pitcher than those two, so maybe the velocity fetishizing is misplaced. All of these guys are risky, from Roy Halladay to Ricky Nolasco. If you take the last three seasons for all of the one- and two-year options, Vogelsong probably grades out the highest, apart from Bartolo Colon.

You just have to be convinced that last year was a hiccup. Considering how quickly he appeared out of the mists, it's just too easy to believe he'll disappear the exact same way. Logically, though, it's a risk with a reward, just like all the others. It's just not the sexiest risk-reward proposition of the offseason. And I wanted new and exciting. Hopefully, we'll just have to settle for "good."

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