On a day where the Astros have already traded Dexter Fowler to the Chicago Cubs for pitcher Dan Straily and If Luis Valbuena, Jeff Luhnow hinted that more moves were on the horizon. About 6 hours later came the news that the Astros were in serious talks with 37-year-old Ryan Vogelsong from the World Series winning Giants.
After the Fowler trade it was assumed that Straily would go into the 5th slot of the rotation, but if these talks are true Straily could be in the bullpen or Triple-A to start the season.
What You Need to Know About Ryan Vogelsong
Last year for the Giants, Vogelsong was not as efficient as he has shown in his past. During the 2014 season, Vogelsong went 8-13/ 4.00 ERA/ 184 IP/ 151 SO. While looking at his win-loss record, it may not seem like a good investment for the young Houston Astros, but the 4.00 ERA and strikeout numbers show that maybe he didn’t get the run support at times in San Fransisco.
This will be another Scott Feldman signing: an innings eater who will bring his 10 years of MLB experience to the young rotation.
Speaking of a young rotation, this will allow Mark Appel, Asher Wojciechowski, and Vincent Velasquez some more time in the minors to be promoted when they are ready. I’m still not entirely sure what Dan Straily’s role will be on the 2015 Astros, but too much pitching is never a bad thing.
Looking at Ryan Vogelsong from a fantasy baseball perspective, STEAMER projections list him going 9-10/ 4.45 ERA/ 163 IP/ 124 SO. While this projection is down from his 2014 numbers, you have to realize that he is an older pitcher, so a natural drop in performance is factored into these projections. Over his career he has averaged 6.76 strikeouts and 3.45 walks per 9 innings. He has struck out 17.2% of his total batters faced for his 10 year career.
The question would be, how long the Astros would sign the 37-year-old pitcher with only 10 years in the majors? The next question might be for how much?
I see it being a one year deal with maybe a club or vesting option for a second year. With the pitching prospects on the rise, I don’t see them making a long-term commitment to Vogelsong. Then you have to take the age into consideration as well.
Projection of Salary: 5 million for 2015 with club or vesting option for 2016
Vogelsong’s Role With the Astros
Naturally it would be assumed that the Astros would sign Vogelsong to slide into the 5th rotation slot, but A.J. Hinch will probably call it an open competition for the 5th starting position. Vogelsong will compete with Dan Straily, Asher Wojciechowski, Jake Buchanan, and others. However, the Astros would not pay for Vogelsong unless their plan was to use him in the rotation.
Presuming the Vogelsong signing goes down late tonight or tomorrow, the Astros rotation will consist of…
LHP- Dallas Keuchel
RHP- Collin McHugh
RHP – Scott Feldman
LHP – Brett Oberholtzer
RHP – Ryan Vogelsong
While this may not sound like a playoff rotation, I think it will lead to an increased win total in 2015. By adding an arm like Vogelsong and his 5.75 innings per game average to an already good rotation, the goal for reaching a possible .500 record or greater increases. It’s not a sexy add; that would have been someone like James Shields, but it’s a good add for the Astros.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
The Astros Don’t Need an Ace
People might say this is another Philip Humber or Lucas Harrell type of signing. It could be that is true. What did people think when the Astros claimed Alex Presley, Tony Sipp, and Collin McHugh off waivers? These guys are garbage; they have no business on the Astros. Look how they turned out, contributing to the 2014 Astros in their own way.
Vogelsong has proved that he is an average MLB pitcher, and that is exactly what the Astros need right now until the next wave of prospect pitchers hit. Are there other pitchers out there better than Vogelsong on the free agent market right now? Yes, but I think the Astros are making the right moves to inch towards being able to compete in 2016.
Once the Astros are ready to compete, then go sign the big name free agent like the Washington Nationals did today by signing Max Scherzer.
Let’s keep an eye on twitter until we hear the news that Ryan Vogelsong is bringing his pitching song to the Houston Astros!
Update: 10:44 pm
What are your thoughts?