Sometimes a person comes into your life, at the perfect time, and it just clicks. They complete you. They are everything you are not. Things just seem...beautiful.
That person is not Dan Vogelbach.
Sure, Vogelbach is a good guy. He has a certain thickness that you may find appealing — I’m not here to judge. To some, he may be perfect. But not for you. Not for us, not now. You see, the Mariners are built to win right now. With such high expectations, impatience is natural, if not morbidly encouraged. Young talent who may need time to work through struggles may not have the opportunity to do so, potentially derailing their careers.
Vogelbach did not arrive without fanfare. Way back as a prep player he was mashing taters out of the park and became the potential face of the Moneyball movement; if you needed to sell a pair of jeans, acquiring the fabric to make them big enough for Vogelbach would make any ad campaign cost prohibitive. He continued to hit at every level of the minors, but after the Cubs acquired Anthony Rizzo, the clock was ticking on where Vogelbach would eventually make his MLB debut. Some, including myself, thought most American League teams should acquire such an asset, as the Cubs had little leverage other than their own willingness to be patient. Sure enough, Jerry Dipoto struck, and the Big Bopper was brought to the Puget Sound.
There was just one problem — the Mariners have a long-term partner at DH in Nelson Cruz, and forcing Vogey to play the field is a tricky proposition. He’ll give it his all, but ultimately, he’s being set up for a certain degree of failure, and that’s not fair to anyone involved.
While he’s built like a mighty oak, Vogelbach has not brought the boom with him as much as you’d think. He has the raw power in him, and showed it in the PCL last year, but he provides a great deal of his offensive value with a balanced approach at the plate. He’ll walk, smack some doubles, and hit the occasional homer, but this isn’t Chris Carter or Mark Trumbo we’re talking about. This is a more well rounded offensive talent.
Except maybe he’s not. Maybe he’s going to strike out too often and doesn’t have enough power to make up for it, making him Adam Lind 2.0. Maybe after a couple weeks of struggling to find his footing, Danny Valencia will have to man first full-time, costing the team a bit of versatility and depth.
It’s not that Vogelbach’s not trying to be the one. He’s eating more salads; he’s showing us he’s good with kids; he’s doing all the right things. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll wake up three months from now and realize it was right under our noses all along.