The San Francisco Giants are set to welcome Ryan Vogelsong back into the clan, after a winter spent investigating numerous possibilities to fortify the rotation in preparation for the opening of spring training. No signature has been inked, but numerous reports indicate Vogelsong is poised to sign a one-year deal for 2015, with San Francisco.
Whereas conventional baseball wisdom dictates that a championship-winning team not stand pat on a dealt hand, the Giants do not fit the mold of conventionality, nor do they wish to. The Giants are more than content to leave convention to those who write about it, preferring instead to stick to a good thing once it has held up to not only the test of time, but more importantly, the test of the diamond.
It’s one thing to pontificate on what has been observed over the course of time, concerning successful teams of the past; it’s another thing to link the current version of the Giants with other teams. This team is not like other teams and the world of baseball is taking note.
Having set themselves apart by means of accomplishing that which has not been done since World War Two, winning three world championships in five years, sufficiently far enough removed in our country’s past to suffice as far as establishing authenticity of product, the Giants do not have to adhere to what other teams feel is the right course of action.
Oct 25, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki (left) interviews San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (32, right) before game two of the 2012 World Series against the Detroit Tigers at AT
Brian Sabean tried to keep Pablo Sandoval at third base, but the Panda sought the challenge in Boston, and Casey McGehee has joined the team. Michael Morse brought his Morse-Force with him and electrified Giants fans with his warmth and exuberance, but his defense was not well-suited to AT&T Park, and so Nori Aoki has been signed to replace him.
This is not a club that requires passage through the wringer, the way both the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres have done this offseason.
Teams rebuild when they can’t win; Giants are proven winners, so why mess with a good thing?
, replacing their catcher (Yasmani Grandal
), second baseman (Howie Kendricks
), shortstop (Jimmy Rollins
), and center field (Joc Pederson
). And as I mentioned
Padres have gone one player better and substituted five of their starting eight.
The Dodgers have had to replace two-fifths of their starting rotation, adding Brett Anderson and Brandon McCarthy to the team. The Padres have Andrew Cashner, Ian Kennedy and Odrisamer Despaigne returning, while hoping that Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson can bolster an always-dangerous San Diego rotation.
When do teams generally go about such a thorough revamping? Teams gut their lineups when they can’t beat other teams. The Giants have proven they can beat other teams-thrice pipes. Why should the Giants gut their team? Would Giants fans have balked if Jon Lester came on board? Not so’s you’d have noticed it.
No problem though, because Lester joined the Chicago Cubs, Max Scherzer joined the Washington Nationals, and James Shields will join the team of his choice. All well and good. And Ryan Vogelsong is coming home.
Earlier in the offseason, Vogelsong told media that he was in no hurry to sign with another team, preferring to wait and see if there was an opportunity to re-sign with the Orange and Black. And he waited. Then he went north (Minnesota Twins), south (Houston Astros), central (Colorado Rockies) and west (Arizona Diamondbacks) before resuming discussions with San Francisco.
This is a patient man we are dealing with here. Whether on the mound, deliberately scowling down the pike at Buster Posey, or sitting at the negotiating table patiently awaiting developments, there is no sound and fury, only the deliberate actions of a tenacious competitor. Vogelsong does not have to prove himself; he has done so repeatedly, much to the delight of Giants fans.
Ryan doesn’t whine and he darn sure does not snivel, even when his team gets shut out in four of six consecutive starts, while scoring only one run in a fifth game of the same series of futility. Vogelsong will carry that team even when it hangs him out to dry, and leaves him there fluttering valiantly in the breeze, while they go off to fly kites in the same breeze.
He does not slam the rosin bag down in disgust and he does not gesticulate furiously at his fielders after a misplay. He accepts what is delivered as realistically as he accepts a summons, which doesn’t mean he is capitulating, only that he is gathering inner strength to do battle.
Vogelsong snarls, he glares, he grimaces and then he proceeds to administer an old-fashioned butt-kicking. His numbers last season are of little or no consequence to most fans (8-13, 4.00 ERA, 1.28 WHIP) because it is his attitude and his baseball acumen that attracts the notice of Giants fans. Well, that and the fact that he has started seven postseason games for the Orange and Black and they have won all seven.
If a team does not end up making a blockbuster deal for a top gunslinger such as Lester, but still needs help, who better than a tried veteran with substance, such as Vogelsong? We’re talking true grit with some gnarly tossed in for good measure.
We’re taking about true Giant.