Vogelbach Out
Heredia? Bat 'im first, or 9th


Several reasonable groks on this move.  Dr. D's?  The Mainframe simply comes down on the side of --- > Vogelbach played himself out of a job.  He did not look Zen from the Mainframe's camera lens, and did not look rewardable from this so-called "Productive Plate Appearance" handbill on the M's wall.

Vogelbach looked VERY confused at the plate to me.  For what it's worth.


Benefit 1:  cost savings on Vogelbach per the Super Two* strategy.  G moshes off this to warn us that Tyler O'Neill might also "suddenly" be ready for the Bright Lights, Big City about the time they can be promoted with 6.5 years of club control.  (Seriously, do they have Super Two this year?)

This, in turn, would imply that the Mariners expect Dan Vogelbach to be a big hitting star.  Vogelbach will be a pure DH in the year 2022 and the M's have an eye toward "limiting" the $$$ damage to a 6th-year arb award?  Ok ...

Problem 1:  the job is all Valencia's.  Even the backup there (Motter) is an emergency situation.  (Where was that Boomstick glove?!)  Valencia is hitting 9-for-46 and the personality issues lurk.  'course, he has thumped for the A's the last two years.  Divish's article insists the Mariners were ready for a 550-AB Valencia scenario.


Benefit 2:  Taylor Motter has looked natural, instinctive, comfortable at any position you stick him to.  The TV guys swooned about his first game in left field ... SUNBALL!!!  Motter casually angled his body in front of the sun early and snicked the ball out of the air as if his 10,000th iteration.  Dr. D can confirm there are a few freaks along this line, and that Motter looks one of them.


Benefit 3:  So Guillermo Heredia gets a roster slot?  Is that correct?  All y'all had moved us into the 60-40 Heredia camp also.  If SSI had its way, Guillermo Heredia would be in there against EVERY left hand pitcher, either for Jar-Rod or for Leonydas.  Plus other AB's.  Top of the order.  The man will force strikes in front of Jean Segura.

The idea of deep-sixing BOTH your Major-League-Ready (TM) OF's -- both of whom had the spring trainings you assigned them to have -- was sickening.  Much rather give Vogelbach another month or two to relax at 1B and relax into his swing.  Best news to follow would be Ben Gamel as well, with the reasonable 7-man RP contingent and a Tacoma carousel providing fresh relief meat on a nightly basis.


Benefit 4:  Matt Moore had us a little nervy.  Too many lefties on this team roll by the LH aces like knockover ducks on a popgun arcade game.  Heredia in, Vogelbach out, long breath out.



Ryan Divish has an article up with plenty of quotes.  Good on yer, Ryan.  A couple:


“I still feel Vogey will have a big impact on our season, but sending him to Tacoma to start season we feel is the best thing for him and the team,” Dipoto said.

“It’s just not wise,” Dipoto said. “This is very similar to what we did last year with Mike Zunino and James Paxton. We will take the appropriate time and care to make sure that when he comes to the big leagues, he’s polished enough in the areas that are important.”

[On trouble with simple fastballs being a red flag] “When you are talking about a Major League player, it shouldn’t be that big of an adjustment,” Servais said. “When you are getting fastballs to hit, you should. Most guys can hit the fastball. But again, being a major league player, there’s going to be a lot of things that are thrown at you. Taking what you think works and what you want to try and put into your game without getting overly concisions and getting away from your game, that’s a maturity issue. Most of the guys at the big league level can handle that.”


QUESTION 1:  Is the 8th RP a given?  Or might Ben Gamel still be in the mix?

QUESTION 2:  Danny Valencia full time is passable but NOT exactly what you're looking for.  40-FOOT-TALL-SEARCHLIGHTS GO UP which lefthander is taking reps at 1B?  Gamel?  The Anointed Righty O'Neill?  Who?



Oh wait.  There's no like button.  So don't forget the 1-liner comments we agreed to :- )


Or not,




Just a couple days ago I was hoping for Heredia, Motter and O'Malley.  With O'Malley down a couple weeks I'd take Gamel, at least for now. I'm still not a believer but at least it would give more opportunity for him to produce and make me believe.  There's no one else I'd rather see in that spot right now. 


My strong suspicion is that the team will take 8 RPs on the first road trip, then, as soon as O'Malley is fit and has a few Tacoma PAs, he's up as the 4th benchie. 

Electrokrakenjr's picture

Asuming Zych, Simmons and Cishe start on the dl, that leaves:

Who's 8? Hagadone, Pazos or Jean Machi?


I don't think Dipoto is afraid to give Gamel 1B reps. I think no way, no how Tank gets them... if he can chop OF, why mess with greatness? Trade on when the time comes, which obviously fits JeDi's modus operandi.

...which makes the strategy IMO clear as Cristal - a Gamel-ish player gets 1B reps, but only as a fourth-tier or so backup to the three trade scenarios currently being processed through the office on Martinez and Niehaus...

asok1021's picture

I'm of the belief this is all about numero tres; just as the 'hawks have instilled a "next man up" mantra, so too are Servais and DiPoto.. and to maintain credibility they've got to respect the results.

..just so happens there are side bennies such as better match-up planning, positional flexibility, and arb $$.. (such is the genius of DiPoet)

"'s gud problems to have boyz"


...I dislike the move.

I will dislike it less if there was a conversation that went like this:  "Not to worry kid!  Pax and Zunny went down last year.  Not a big thing. You're coming up in May.  Just relax and enjoy the AAA pitching!"

It will be neat to see who #13 is.  Having 5 fulltime OF's is a bit weird, I think...but not too weird.  Remember my post about Gamel getting some 1B time. It may well come true. Let's see what happens the next couple of ST games.  

And it is possible that Freeman could get the call for a bit.  Or even Tyler Smith. 

If we're looking for another flex-type player, we could do a lot worse than looking at Chris Coglan, who the Phillies might not have a place for.

Of course, O'Malley comes back soon-ish.

But all in all, if we're not giveing Gamel some 1B time in the next couple of days, thenI would rather we let Vogs hit away for a while.


This spring, I kept wanting to believe the slump would end.  We couldn't watch it all, which is asinine to me considering the Mariners own the RSN...But what I saw.   The defense looked improved, but it may be that his focus on defense made his offense lag.  He's never run k rates like that, though I didn't go through minors game logs to search for similar 3 week stretches.  Hee may be able to play the piano reasonably now, but can he sing at the same time yet? 

The 5 outfielder idea is partially in assuming they don't go with the 8 reliever idea.  Ruiz, Motter, Heredia,______...I really liked O'Malley in that spot, maybe Smith or Freeman.  Gamel did at least have a good spring, so has Smith. 


Their remarks about 'Bach struggling with normal hittable fastballs, sounds like he's flailing away totally lost right now.  Looks that way too.  Kinda looked that way in his 12 AB's last year.

Good thing we got a real coaching staff these days ...

If they ERSTAD my man Ben Gamel he's going to be forever the Mo Dawg Adopt a First Sacker...


I'm seeing some K's, too.  That's why I hope the braintrust is telling the kid to just relax and enjoy Tacoma, and that he'll be up pronto enough.


I seem to recall DiPoto saying they liked Valencia’s bat against both lefties and righties and with ability to play OF and 3rd expected him to be almost a full time player. But it appears that despite the sunny public optimism (not unfounded) about Vogelbach, DiPoto really felt he needed to be much better defensively and that process might slow him at the plate, so he acquired Valencia to be able to send Vogelbach down to work on his defense, which DiPoto fully intended to do unless Vogelbach blew their doors off with his bat, like Maniger is doing. Hence the “we’ve seen enough” early exit. Also as I recall both Servais and Edgar visited Valencia at his home, inviting him into the veteran leadership circle. So it seems to me like they expected this result all along. But if by July Vogelbach is seen as the superior player, what kind of trade piece would Valencia make?


If he wasn't still fitting into our plans.  Maybe you're happier with O'Malley and Motter than one of them and Valencia and they're all hitting.  It could happen. 


Vogelbach has flashed fairly long stretches (such as the fairly long 2015 baseball season) of hitting as well as Boomstick ... so ... minor tweak to give him the whole 1B job if that's what they think ...

Valencia with a 134 OPS+ in 2014 and 119 last year; that's a perfect match for Kyle Seager's 2015-16, seasons inverted ...


Has a long-term ripple effect on his earnings, whether he plays well or not ... here's a Fangraphs article on it ... 

Seems feasible to me to MAKE ALLOWANCES FOR the scenario in which Dan Vogelbach becomes a frontline org asset.  Not sure though whether this was a strong motivator for the M's.  Gordon thinks so, so that gives it pretty good legs in our book :- )

Thanks Chucky!

Nathan H's picture

Items 1A, 1B, and 1C on Vog's exit interview were for him to improve his defense, improve his defense, and improve his defense. He busted his tail and sweated his way from 'laughingstock' to --> 'a tick below average'. Brass talked him up all offseason, lots of quotes about nothing left for him to prove in the minors and, when the celebs started waving their assistants over to apply their pearls, the M's yanked the red carpet out from underneath him. Hope he doesn't hold it personal-like.

If Vogelbach isn't ready then, yeah, this is the right move. It's the Batman-move; the right move that can only be done by being a bad guy. If it's just about contract manipulation then, yeah, that's a Two-Face move and deserves some amount of scorn. We'll see what it was when we look at his slash line in AAA after May 1st. 


If you're trying to teach me to play the low post ...

And I spend 6 months giving it my all ...

And it turns out I just am still not quite good enough ...

And a coach I respect gives me the technical what-and-wherefore ... "See, we need this foot here earlier; we need this drop-step more fluid," etc ...

And says "as soon as we get this where we want it, we'll go with it!  Keep up the good work amigo!"

Then I am good to go play with the JV and keep workin' it...   

I also expect an MLB athlete, even the modern athlete, to accept these terms...


M's are supposed to be good at this John Wooden style coaching now.  Would welcome a bit of input from Rockies Jeff here.

RockiesJeff's picture

Sounds like me...that being still not good enough! That is a tough one. I loved Wooden. Got to meet him a couple of different times, even in the pregame locker room before Notre Dame game on recruiting trip. He defined coaching didn't he?

You got it. Vogs is a professional athlete. He was a high draft. No money pressures. Just go and play. But whether it is technique or a disconnect upstairs...you have to be there and watch him, look in the eyes, etc. It is even harder today, I think, to get the mental, technique and conditioning to all match. A lot of kids don't want to put the work in. I assume Vogs did that in the offseason. I would think that this would help him settle down and get locked back in. I assume that all was there in his hitting or they don't give up Montgomery for a defensive nothing. Time is always a great indicator with hard work. Baseball is a tough sport being such a mental grind. Be interesting what the next steps look like.



Seems like at the same time that's a great "out" for them.

He worked hard on his D and as it's just "not quite enough" 

Give the young man a pat on the bum and send him to AAA to "refine and relax" 

Save yourself $$ and an extra year of arb right?


I could be 1000% off. To me it's more about the idea that if that's what really happened then they have realize this kids bat is for real and we could have us some talent coming from our minors that we haven't seen in a long time. 


Zunino (if he really has it figured out. He leads the team in walks this spring. Has more walks than K's...where did that come from?)





seems like it could be a pretty nice way to transition our offense after Cruz is goine and Cano declines. 

The Other Billy Zoom's picture

All what?

While the emphasis was on Volks to improve his defense, perhaps he was concerned about his offense.

He had cruised through each level of competition, seemingly with ease ... but he had only a very brief glimpse of a major league pitcher coming right at him.

There is often more than a fine line between triple A and the bigs ... and many "top prospects" have been able to get a toe-hold on the upside.

Happens in everything, not just sports.

Did the Cubs feel he had maxed at triple A.  Certainly, with Rizzo at first, Volks did not fit and Madden had other guys who he could pinch hit, which would have been Volks primary role.

Is Volks problem in his mind, or his body, or the circuit between them?

I'm sure McKay as well as the field staff and GM have spent plenty of time trying to figure that out, and, now, I hope dropping him to triple A is not a collinder instead of a calender.

What this move suggests to me is that before opening day, there will be a new first baseman with the M's with stout D, and a return to last year's platoon system on that bag.

Doesn't mean Valencia is just not as flexible ... but, if a trade is involved in such an acquisition, then Valencia might be the one leaving town. I have a hard time picking out someone else they might get some value for, other than one of their OF's.

When he was acquired, DePoet pointed out he was going to be the M's DH "for the next ten years".

That could still happen, but it is up to Mr. Volks?

What is his interpretation of "whatever it takes".

I hope he understands that the past off-season, whatever regimen he followed, wasn't effective in reaching the next rung.



There were some surprised comments from, e.g., Blowers that "you hit and hit and move up levels and then you hit the bigs and nobody has taught you the details.  All of a sudden you're in MLB and uncoached."  Or similar.

Good point about the 10-year DH.  If 'Bach's wrists have the Edgar-like power snap, to go with Bach's obvious ability to cricket-bat the Boggs singles, wouldn't be at all surprised to see a big time hitter.

Thanks Zoom!


...or is it all about how you use it?

I seem to recall a recent broadcast where Blowers mentioned that Vogs had recently switched to a much larger bat, a la Martin last year. Figured it would let him drive the outside pitches with authority. Blowers followed right up by wondering whether the extra weight would prevent Vogs from turning on the inside pitch, as many denizens have noticed him failing to do.

That jives perfectly with what I've seen to far this spring. To me, Vogs swings has looked A. Long, B. Surprisingly adept at hitting the Left-Center gap, even on late little arm swings, C. Kind of new and bemusing to him. All of this, and the abrupt upswing in K rate, seem like they would logically stem from the move to a heavier bat. I noticed all this stuff before hearing Blowers' anecdote, and when he brought that up it all clicked into place.

Honestly, this roster move is growing on me. If you figure Vogs is a good bet to start the year in a slump while he figures out his new bat (or eventually ditches it for a more conventional one), why not send him down with a pat on the back and a "you'll be back soon -- REAL soon" in his ear? Let him sort himself out, polish the defense a bit more, and get some confidence rolling before cannon balling into the glassy waters of the American League in late May. If that happens to set up some Super 2 saving several years down the line, well, that's what Winning Forever is all about right? Moves that make you better both now and later? Meanwhile, you've got Valencia's bat coming around nicely the last week or so, and his promising improvement vR last year, to cover your behind while you wait.

Also, this lets you take the guys who Always comPeted the best with you to open the year. At least one of Heredia and Gamel, maybe both. Maybe even Tyler Smith, camp superstar, at least for the two weeks it takes O'Malley to get his sea legs back. Nice little bonus, that, the ability to reward everyone who killed it in camp. That's like three birds with one stone, and all it took was Jerry making one outside-the-box move.

BABVA, yeah?

Taro's picture

Nice catch with the heavier bat. Only makes sense if you are swinging for flyballs.

For me, Vogelbach doesn't even look remotely ready. He needs a new swing, not a new bat.

Its not a good sign that hes had such an issue making contact with a contact hitting approach. 

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