With Vogelbach Demotion, M’s Roster Nearly Set

marc w · March 23, 2017 at 2:45 pm · Filed Under Mariners 

Didn’t see this one coming. For the past several months, the expectation has been that the M’s would give Dan Vogelbach the starting 1B job, either on his own or in a platoon with Danny Valencia. Today, though, the M’s optioned Vogelbach to Tacoma, handing the 1B job to Valencia and opening up a roster spot – presumably for a reliever.

Vogelbach has struggled in recent weeks, and leads the team in strikeouts with 19 in just 57 at-bats. For a team focused on controlling the strike zone, Vogelbach’s slump in precisely that area was going to draw attention. After opening the season with 8 Ks and 4 BBs in his first 26 ABs, he’s had 11 Ks and 3 BBs in his last 28. Overall, his K rate is 30%, not what the M’s wanted out of a bat-first position. Dipoto referenced the temporary demotions last year of James Paxton and Mike Zunino, with the thinking that he can get more work in for the Rainiers instead of playing sporadically as a bench bat in Seattle. That’s probably a good thing. He dominated the strike zone for Tacoma, but his SLG% of .422 probably wasn’t ideal for the position. Sure, the OBP was amazing, but I wonder if he made some adjustments looking to tap into more power and threw his swing (and process at the plate) out of whack a bit.

The final utility roster spot seems decided as well: Shawn O’Malley’s imminent appendectomy will require a few weeks of recovery time, so the job is essentially Taylor Motter’s by default. As with Vogelbach, I’d imagine we’ll see O’Malley at some point this season, but Motter will get the first crack at the job.


17 Responses to “With Vogelbach Demotion, M’s Roster Nearly Set”

  1. ck on March 23rd, 2017 2:52 pm

    Vogelbach down to Tacoma is a good move, for every divisional series has a must-win feeling for M’s who open on the road. Also, it was mentioned in other places that Vincent and Scribner are out of options, and Zych and Cishek will probably be delayed past Opening Day, and Toronto and Baltimore are famous for waiver claim depth grabs—all together the hot stove stew will bubble some more before its ready. I think the first (April) twenty-five man roster will be three men different in May.

  2. msfanmike on March 23rd, 2017 3:04 pm

    And as someone told me in the 3/18 thread … “it’s just that simp.”

    Except in reverse to how he meant it – when he directed it to me.

    Based on what I saw/have seen – the dude just ain’t ready for prime time play. I’m glad to hear of this news. As a matter of fact, it made me smile quite a bit!

  3. Mid80sRighty on March 23rd, 2017 3:38 pm

    As Marc said “Didn’t see this one coming.” This was not an expected move. But, sure, all hail prognosticator Mike…

  4. MrZDevotee on March 23rd, 2017 5:01 pm

    Gotta say I’m not disappointed by this move. Keeping him at the big league level would have seemed like a repeat of what we put Justin Smoak through… A “renowned” minor league bat, who we basically threw to the Big League sharks and kept yelling “you better swim or you’re gonna die”…

    Vogelbach is not ready. Period. 30% K rate is just unacceptable, at any level, and needs correcting. Maybe it’s the “pressure” to grab the starting job, or too many adjustments thrown at him all at once, but to give him a real chance to succeed this is the right path to choose…

    So yeah, good move. Now he can be a #1 priority of the teaching staff of the AAA club, and get dedicated attention. Hope it works and we see him back up with the big boys soon.

  5. msfanmike on March 23rd, 2017 5:24 pm

    Where were you earlier this week when I needed a wing-man my Scottish brother with a still bad username?

  6. Longgeorge1 on March 23rd, 2017 8:23 pm

    Spring Training – The numbers mean nothing – unless they do. I think this is more than bad numbers. I think they see some flaws that need work. I thought we got Voge a little too cheap. Maybe the Cubs Montero-ed us. Hope I am wrong. I often am.

  7. djw on March 23rd, 2017 9:19 pm


    you were right, I was wrong. I’m skeptical about such a reaction to a handful of ABs. Hopefully Valencia can not embarrass himself against RHPs.

  8. MrZDevotee on March 24th, 2017 8:48 pm

    Ha, I had to go back and read the last post. Pretty funny. But yeah, I would have been on your side on that one. And I’d re-up on what I saw written about how Valencia has somehow managed to become league-average or better against RHP over the past two years. Hopefully it’s not a fluke. And hopefully Vogelbach gets de-Smoaked in Tacoma sooner than later.

  9. roosevelt on March 24th, 2017 10:15 pm

    Unfortunately, Valencia isn’t showing well too.

  10. nodiggity on March 24th, 2017 11:44 pm

    Well, Valencia has a track record, and he has proven he can hit major league pitching. The only thing that Danny V has proven is that he is a good minor league hitter. If Danny V were a good defensive 1st baseman, that might justify keeping him up here. But he’s not, and the M’s need to win this year, so they need their best guys out there and they can’t be carrying prospects who are not ready.

  11. LongDistance on March 25th, 2017 8:31 am

    Like. Shows they’ve evolved from the willfully blindered pigheadedness that wrecks potential rather than nurtures it: e.g. Dustin Ackley.

  12. djw on March 25th, 2017 4:28 pm

    Valencia has a track record, and he has proven he can hit major league pitching.

    He’s proven he can hit left-handed major league pitching. He’s at an age that we should expect decline, and during his peak he was well below replacement level for a 1B against right-handed pitching.

    Assuming his track record is not a good guide is a major risk. I hope it works out, but this really feels like an overreaction to spring training to me. If the plan is to use an extra-large bullpen for the first month or two to keep arms fresh and call up Vogelbach (or address the LH 1B situation in some other fashion) sometime in May, OK. But otherwise? I’m a skeptic.

  13. Westside guy on March 25th, 2017 9:36 pm

    Even if Vogelbach had played well, it’s not like this was going to be a monster platoon, production-wise. It’s not going to kill the team’s chances if Vogelbach isn’t there for a few months.

    Dipoto doesn’t want to rush young guys who the team thinks may not be ready for the show, and I applaud him for that. But Valencia is what he is, already – if he struggles out there, it’s not going to break his psyche.

  14. Grayfox3d on March 26th, 2017 11:33 pm

    I know it’s just spring training, but I could really do with out Nick Vincent, I did not care for him last season as well.

  15. stevemotivateir on March 27th, 2017 9:23 am

    Valencia made an adjustment while with Toronto (if I’m not mistaken) and has hit RHP much better since. He’s beyond a small sample size now. You can argue he leaves something to be desired, but he’s not a liability, has power, and can punish lefties. He was (is) the safer bet.

    From the beginning, Dipoto and Servais said Vogelbach would have to demonstrate that he’s able to handle the minimum defensively. He hasn’t done that yet, and if he’s taken that to the plate with him, it could explain the lack of focus.

    I don’t think this is an overreaction to spring numbers. The combination of lack of defense and discipline warrants the demotion.

    I’m personally much more comfortable with Valencia in there full-time. Time may prove that we need more from 1B, but for now, I think there’s little reason to sweat.

  16. Grayfox3d on March 27th, 2017 2:54 pm

    Is Gallardo gonna make the starting rotation? because I don’t think i can stomach watching him try and pitch every 5 days.

  17. stevemotivateir on March 27th, 2017 6:24 pm

    Links to the updated minor league affiliates will be necessary soon.

    As if Marc hasn’t been busy enough.

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