Ryan Vogelsong Agrees to Two-Year Deal

The Giants have signed Ryan Vogelsong to a two-year deal with a club option for 2014, according to their official Twitter account. This confirms what was initially reported by Mychael Urban.

Jon Morosi tweets that the deal is worth $8MM:

Source: #SFGiants’ deal with Ryan Vogelsong is two years (plus option) at $8 million.

Vogelsong was pegged for something in the range of $3MM to $4MM, though Matt Swartz’s arbitration projections had him at $2.5MM. In any event, his case was clearly a bit unusual.

Vogelsong was awesome this year, and there’s no denying that. In 179.2 innings — 28 starts — he allowed 62 runs, posted a 132 ERA+, and racked up 3.7 wins above replacement. His peripherals (18.5 K%, 8.1 BB%) weren’t quite as stellar, but he did rate fairly well by most of the defensive-independent pitching metrics: 3.67 FIP/3.85 xFIP/3.97 SIERA, and 2.4 wins above replacement by Fangraphs’ FIP-based implementation.

Chances are, Vogelsong won’t be posting a sub-3 ERA again. In fact, there’s a good chance he won’t stay below 4 in 2012. For what it’s worth, ZiPS projects him for a 93 ERA+ over 153 innings in 2012. Given that Vogelsong is coming off of his only year of success in the majors, and that he wasn’t in the majors the four years preceding 2011, he’s still somewhat of an unknown. In other words, he’s harder to project over the next couple years than the average pitcher, given his unique progression.

If he does hit those projected ZiPS figures though, he’ll more or less be paid what he’s worth in 2012, and then overpaid thereafter (but nothing that would cripple financial flexibility). If he manages to repeat his 2011 success, or just be a slightly above-average starter over the course of a full season in 2012, it could turn out to be a pretty nice thing to have him under contract in 2013. I’m guessing the Giants think there’s a decent shot that Vogelsong will be a pitcher worth keeping in 2014, but right now, I don’t expect they’ll be picking up that option.

Anyway: not a bad deal, not a bargain. Just an okay deal. I would have preferred a one-year deal with, say, an option for 2013, but oh well. I don’t have too much to complain about here.

Potential Trade Target: Chris Volstad

While, I didn’t go too in depth about my feelings on the Cabrera-Sanchez/Verdugo swap last time (basically I think it’s roughly an even deal, though Melky isn’t a great fit with the way the roster is currently constructed) one thing it did do is it made the back end of the Giants rotation vulnerable. Ryan Vogelsong and Barry Zito are currently slotted in firmly as the team’s 4 and 5 starters, which is fairly risky given that Vogelsong came from nowhere and Zito is coming off a year where he was below replacement level per Fangraphs.

The Giants also lack young pitching as the Giants top pitching prospect is either a guy who has a fastball that rarely jumps over 90 MPH or a guy who didn’t focus on pitching exclusively until his senior year of high school.

Chris Volstad could fill both those problems. There are reports that he could be available, as he is arbitration eligible for the first time and Florida could want to move on from his 4.59 career ERA. But why would the Giants want to take a flier on him?

Well for one, he is still relatively cheap. MLBTR projects him for a $2.6 Million salary after his first time in arbitration. He also has a good pedigree as he was rated as the Marlins top prospect by Baseball America in 2007, and second in their system in 2008.

But most importantly, he is better than he has shown. Volstad has been good at getting ground balls (career 50.4%), however, most of his career Dan Uggla and Hanley Ramirez have been the Marlins middle infield combination and both of those players are below average defenders. Last year, Volstad posted a 4.89 ERA, with a 52.3 GB%, however he also posted a 3.64 xFIP, which is a solid indicator for his future.

This would help him fit well with the Giants as there is a growing likelyhood that Brandon Crawford could be the Giants starting SS, which regardless of whether or not you believe that is a good idea, would improve the Giants defense. Combine that with the solid Freddy Sanchez and the legitimate gold glove candidate Pablo Sandoval, and you have a very good infield defense. Volstad would also be helped by AT&T park as last year he posted a 15.5 HR/FB rate-just below Barry Zito and Bronson Arroyo.

While he would be a good fit, there is the question of what would be fair to give up. I think given the questions surrounding the back of the Marlins bullpen they would be interested in Santiago Casilla and then an 11-20 rated prospect, like a Chris Dominguez or Charlie Culberson.