Ryan Vogelsong signed a minor league contract with the Twins in the offseason but was released before the end of spring training and hasn’t caught on anyplace else. Given that he’s 40, it was pretty safe to assume that his career was over, but today he and the Giants made it official: he’s retiring.
What’s more, he’s retiring as a Giant, as part of a ceremony at AT&T Park this Sunday. The press release from the club lauds Vogelsong as a “home grown player” and a “World Series Champion,” which he most certainly is. The release also notes his “highs and lows,” which is not something you often see in such releases, but which is true for Vogelsong, who had good years and bad years. His best two years came in 2011 and 2012, and he won a second ring with the Giants in 2014.
Vogelsong spent several years with the Pirates too, of course, moving to Pittsburgh in the Jason Schmidt trade in 2001. He signed as a free agent with both the Phillies and Angels but didn’t pitch in the bigs with either club before returning to the Giants. His last season, 2016, was spent back in Pittsburgh though he missed considerable time after he was hit in the eye by a pitch, injuring his eye socket in May. In all, he finishes his career with a record of 61-75, an ERA of 4.48 and 900 strikeouts and 448 walks in 1,190 innings. Seven of his big league seasons came with San Francisco, the other six with Pittsburgh.
It’s hard to have super strong opinions about a guy like Ryan Vogelsong, but something about this press release makes me feel good. There’s something nice about a non-star — indeed, a guy who was below average by most measures, even if he managed to stick around and make one All-Star team — getting a nice little honor and ceremony, just like a bigger name might get. We’re so conditioned to sort players into “Hall of Famer” and “pile of anonymity” after they retire, but gestures like this remind us that a guy who played had some worth and entertained us even if he wasn’t a superstar.
Enjoy your day, Ryan.
The Twins have signed Ryan Vogelsong to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training.
Vogelsong missed over two months last season after being hit in the face by a pitch. He didn’t pitch all that well when he was healthy, though, posting a 4.81 ERA and 61/41 K/BB ratio over 82.1 innings with the Pirates. He’s 39 but he could probably still eat innings for a non-contender, so Minnesota is probably a good landing spot for him.
If you’re planning on bandwagoning Team Entropy this October, now is the time to get on board. Sunday’s slate will determine whether or not multiple tie-breakers will be scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, since any postponed games that have bearing on playoff seeding will need to be played before the wild card games kick off on Wednesday.
In the National League, the Giants and Cardinals could force a tie-breaker if the Giants lose to the Dodgers and the Cardinals beat the Pirates, effectively tying their regular season records. Left-hander Matt Moore will take the hill for the Giants against the Dodgers’ Kenta Maeda, in what will also be Vin Scully’s final hurrah in the broadcast booth. The Cardinals, meanwhile, will go with Adam Wainwright to close out the season against the Pirates’ veteran right-hander (and former Giant) Ryan Vogelsong.
Over in the American League, things are significantly more complicated, as both wild cards have yet to be claimed and the seeding among division winners isn’t fully set in stone. With Justin Verlander at the helm, the Tigers will play a must-win game against the Braves’ Julio Teheran if they want to remain in the wild card race come Monday. Even if Verlander turns out another Cy Young-worthy start, however, they’ll still need either the Blue Jays or Orioles to stumble in order to keep their playoff hopes alive.
You can find more from Sunday’s action below.
Baltimore Orioles (Kevin Gausman) @ New York Yankees (Luis Cessa), 3:05 PM EDT
Los Angeles Dodgers (Kenta Maeda) @ San Francisco Giants (Matt Moore), 3:05 PM EDT
Miami Marlins (Tom Koehler) @ Washington Nationals (Max Scherzer), 3:05 PM EDT
New York Mets (Gabriel Ynoa) @ Philadelphia Phillies (Jerad Eickhoff), 3:05 PM EDT
Tampa Bay Rays (Chase Whitley) @ Texas Rangers (Martin Perez), 3:05 PM EDT
Toronto Blue Jays (Aaron Sanchez) @ Boston Red Sox (David Price), 3:05 PM EDT
Detroit Tigers (Justin Verlander) @ Atlanta Braves (Julio Teheran), 3:10 PM EDT
Milwaukee Brewers (Tyler Cravy) @ Colorado Rockies (German Marquez), 3:10 PM EDT
Minnesota Twins (Jose Berrios) @ Chicago White Sox (Chris Sale), 3:10 PM EDT
Oakland Athletics (Sean Manea) @ Seattle Mariners (Felix Hernandez), 3:10 PM EDT
San Diego Padres (Paul Clemens) @ Arizona Diamondbacks (Matt Koch), 3:10 PM EDT
Cleveland Indians (Josh Tomlin) @ Kansas City Royals (Ian Kennedy), 3:15 PM EDT
Pittsburgh Pirates (Ryan Vogelsong) @ St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright), 3:15 PM EDT