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In appreciation of Ryan Vogelsong

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He's not gone, but he should be appreciated while he's here

Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Vogelsong wasn't even supposed to be here today. He had a deal with the Astros in the offseason, Grant wrote a very nice farewell post, and then he left and signed with the Astros. The end. That's it. Gosh, that Kazmir trade meant that he wouldn't be getting a lot more starts, huh? I hope he does well in the bullpen!

That's not how it worked out, of course. Grant never published that post, and your lives were much the poorer for it. The Astros pulled some last-minute negotiating shenanigans – I'd like to see an organization that does that be competitive! – and Vogelsong came back. Reports a month later indicated that they lowered his deal because they were concerned over his medicals. Vogelsong himself said that in 10 years he'd explain everything and no one would believe it.

JANUARY 24, 2025. WE WANT TO KNOW, RYAN. #january242025TRUTH

My money's on reptilians, for the record.

But Vogey came back! And nobody really understood what the point was of bringing him back – what, were Hudson and Cain both gonna be hurt? Don't be ridiculous! – but hey, we liked him and he was decent last year, and he earned two rings, so he was as good a choice as any. Besides, every roster needs a swingman, and it's not like the Giants had one of those just kicking around, already on the roster, waiting to pitch six innings like in Game 2 of the NLDS. Nope, there was no one like that at all, so from an outsider's perspective, the move seemed pretty rational.

And then Vogelsong grew a wilsonian beard and bringing him back seemed like a mistake. His poor April contributed a little to that too (9.31 ERA, though that was a fluke, since his FIP was only 8.61), but, I mean, look at this:

vogeybeard

No. Why? No.

But he recovered to be excellent in May, and then generally fine for the rest of the year. I know that FIP has been down enough on Vogey this year that Fangraphs has him as slightly below replacement this year, but purely in terms of results, he's been fine. That's what he was supposed to be: someone who could consistently throw a baseball for several innings in the major leagues without embarrassing himself. And since Cain and Peavy were hurt for so long, and Hudson turned out to be a disaster, and Lincecum got kinda hurt which turned into him being really hurt, and Petit was banished to the Shadow Zone from which he may only emerge in blowouts and 14-inning games, that's what the Giants desperately, desperately needed.

"Why not someone from Sacramento?" you might ask, as you, the astute baseball fan, are aware that the Giants have multiple starting pitchers in AAA, each of whom would appreciate a shot in the major leagues. Would you have wanted to see Clayton Blackburn or Ty Blach, with the team burning service time, 40-man spots, and option years on guys who hadn't learned everything they had to learn in the minors? Or what about Kevin Correia, who's literally the exact same as Ryan Vogelsong but worse in every way? Or Robert Coello, or Nik Turley, both of whom I promise I didn't just make up? The Tommy Hanson Disaster Model? There were no good options in AAA this year, which is why the Giants signed a Vogelsong in the first place.

Vogey could have complained, you know. I mean, I'm sure he had some things to say in private, away from where prying media ears could hear, but in public, he never said a word. Losing his rotation spot? No complaints. Sent to the bullpen? Sure. Someone said a multiple-preposition sentence to him 4 hours before his start?

/eye twitch
/mutters "excuse me"
/stalks into closest room
/breaks everything

From all accounts, Ryan Vogelsong is well-respected in the clubhouse, and a good teammate. He has shuffled between the rotation and bullpen, which is not something he's especially comfortable with. He has done what the team needed every step of the way, and they would be in much worse shape if he hadn't come back. He has pitched like a major leaguer in a year when multiple members of the starting rotation can't say the same thing. He brought a quantum of stabililty to a team that's been hemorrhaging players. He hasn't been an All-Star like he was in 2011, but there are other ways to contribute to a team.

Ryan Vogelsong should be praised, dammit, and I'm here to do it. Good on you, Ryan. Thanks for coming back. And if I'm waiting 10 years for that story, it better be a damn good one.