There are only a few names left on our list of San Francisco Giants season reviews, and the next one is corner infielder Jason Vosler.
41 games, 82 plate appearances, .178/.256/.356, .612 OPS, 65 OPS+, 64 wRC+, 3 home runs, -0.8 rWAR, -0.4 fWAR
Jason Vosler’s introduction to the Giants was an odd one, and it’s even more odd with the benefit of hindsight. The Giants signed Vosler, a free agent, on Nov. 10 of 2020, and it was perplexing for a variety of reasons.
First, it was a Major League deal, and Vosler had yet to appear in a single Major League game. Second, he was 27, and not exactly a top prospect. Third, it was a Major League deal, and Vosler had yet to appear in a single Major League game. Fourth, it was very early in the offseason, and there were still a few hundred free agents left to make a run at. And fifth, but certainly not least, it was a Major League deal, and Vosler had yet to appear in a single Major League game.
The one part of the Vosler signing that made the most sense was that the Giants were a team fresh off a near-.500 season, and seemed destined for yet another campaign of near-.500ness. If they thought there might be a Mike Yastrzemski hidden somewhere inside Vosler, why not give him the type of deal that guarantees he signs with them, and say “who cares?” when looking at the lost 40-man roster spot.
At the time of the signing I wrote, “This probably diminishes the chances of the Giants spending big money on a free agent infielder like Ha-seong Kim,” which certainly didn’t prove the point I was trying to make, given A) Kim’s rough 2021, B) the fact that Kim didn’t actually get “big money” (at least not in the baseball sense — if someone wants to sign me for four years and $28 million, you can very easily find my email), and C) they ended up giving Tommy La Stella nearly the same AAV as the San Diego Padres gave Kim.
Regardless, you could see the point I was trying to make, and, in the process, the point the Giants were trying to make. Other than the opportunity cost of a spot on the 40-man roster, Vosler didn’t cost much. His salary was very cheap. He had options. And the team was bad enough that they could easily justify giving a roster spot to an unknown entity who was unlikely to help them win games.
It was still weird, though.
It’s not any less weird now. It’s even more weird, perhaps. It’s more weird because, as you all know by now, the Giants did not flirt with mediocrity, but instead ghosted it in favor of the far more appealing and lust-worthy franchise record of 107 wins. The Giants brass didn’t know that would happen, but it did happen, and it made the Vosler move look even odder.
On top of that, Vosler played rather poorly, which put a large, moist blanket over the fire that was a lingering hope that the Giants simply saw something in Vosler that previous teams had not.
And so Vosler’s debut MLB season began with a perplexing contract, and ended with a perplexing performance, all for an eternally perplexing team.
Role in 2022
Despite everything I just said, the Giants still seem decently high on Vosler, whom they trusted on numerous occasions throughout the season. He’s a depth piece they seem to quite like, and they’re not exactly overflowing with MLB-ready infield prospects.
Vosler did have a good year in AAA, slashing .295/.385/.529 (125 wRC+) for the Sacramento River Cats, and showing impressive plate control and discipline, drawing 36 walks to just 45 strikeouts in 309 plate appearances.
So it seems like a decent bet that he’ll be back on the team, in a similar role.
Perhaps this time it’ll be a touch less perplexing.