While the official end of Daniel Vogelbach’s time with the Mariners depends on the outcome of the waiver wire process, the organization made it clear that they are done with the erstwhile slugger and 2019 All-Star when they announced his designation for assignment on Wednesday.
Mariners have DFA'd struggling designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach, who was an All-Star just last year.— Greg Johns (@GregJohnsMLB) August 19, 2020
Vogelbach achieved tall-tale status almost immediately after being acquired in a trade with the Cubs for reliever Mike Montgomery in 2016. Vogelbach was a no-glove, all-bat prospect seemingly destined to be an American League designated hitter some day. All he needed was a chance. The deal didn’t make a ton of sense at the time, other than the fact that trading good relievers for future value is usually a good idea, but Vogelbach was not the typical well-rounded, fast, and toolsy type of player GM Jerry Dipoto had long been known for acquiring. Vogey had two things, both unproven at the MLB level: power and a discerning batter’s eye. Meanwhile, Montgomery famously got the last out in the World Series to break the Cub’s 107-year drought that very same season.
But, the tall-tale appeal was very real. This .gif made the rounds shortly after the trade was announced and many Mariners fans, myself included, instantly fell deeply and fiercely in love with our Large Adult Son, as he was known to be called.
How excited am I about this Vogelbach trade? Almost as excited as Vogelbach was after hitting this HR in HS pic.twitter.com/ghHzJZaEzq— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) July 20, 2016
It took years for Vogelbach to get his real shot with the Mariners. He spent almost all of 2017 in the minors. He got some decent stretches in 2018 (and obliterated a ball to the Hit It Here Cafe for the first time), but never hit well enough during his short stays to keep a roster spot on a contending team (RIP).
2019, the beginning of the current rebuild, was shaping up to finally be the season where Vogey would get his shot. Dipoto seemed to go out of his way to prevent it by acquiring veterans like Jay Bruce and Edwin Encarnacíon, but they ended up being dealt in trades to further the rebuild after the first three months like many expected. I stumped hard for Vogey to get the shot he’d earned after nearly three seasons of destroying PCL pitchers. Let him play, I said. We all deserve to know if he can do it or not. They did. Things were going really well at first and he had a hot enough first two months to earn an All-Star selection (the rest of the lineup was both putrid and/or injured indefinitely). But, the truth remains that Vogey’s production started its slide in May 2019 and it never stopped. The discerning batter’s eye became a refusal to swing at grooved middle-middle fastballs early in the count. The walks were still there, but little else remained of the upper-deck-destroying slugger we’d briefly seen and continued to long for.
Even though I knew his DFA was quickly approaching, given the bevy of options waiting in the
minors at the Alternate Site, it still hit me hard and I’m feeling a real sense of loss. I wanted to give others another chance to write about Vogelbach if they feel inspired or just reminiscence about the good times.
Prompt: In a FanPost or in the comments below, give me your favorite Vogelbach story or moment—or speculate on what’s next for him.
The deal that brought Daniel Vogelbach to Seattle never made much sense, but neither did Daniel Vogelbach, Baseball Player. And that is exactly what made him so easy to root for. The underdog of all underdogs. Anytime a person goes against type in any profession or sport, I am for it. Oh, you’re not supposed to do it like that. Oh, you don’t look like the other ballplayers. Maybe if he slims down someday, he’ll be worth something. Fuck you, I’m doing it anyways, on my terms. That spirit is pure and it’s worthwhile, no matter the outcome.
Best of luck, Vogey. We’ll be rooting for you.