The Diamondbacks have agreed to a one-year deal, $3 million deal with catcher Stephen Vogt. The contract includes an option for 2021 that vests at a “pretty low” threshold, according to The Athletic’s Zach Buchanan. ESPN’s Jeff Passan was the first to report the news Tuesday:
Catcher Stephen Vogt is in agreement on a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks, sources tell ESPN. The deal includes a vesting option for a second season.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 26, 2019
The option vests at a certain threshold, which I've been told is pretty low, and increases in value as other thresholds are hit.— Zach Buchanan (@ZHBuchanan) November 26, 2019
Vogt suffered a shoulder injury which required surgery and was viewed to be career-threatening while playing for the Brewers in May of 2018. With his future in jeopardy, the two-time All-Star signed a minor-league deal with the Giants in February of this year, reuniting with president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who he had a history with while both were in Oakland. After rehabbing the shoulder injury, Vogt made his return to the majors in early May and went on to have a fantastic bounce-back season, posting a career-best .263/.314/.490 slash line while hitting 10 homers in 280 plate appearances. He effectively became a part-time starter behind the plate, splitting time with Buster Posey while also playing seven games (five starts) in left field.
As the 2019 season came to a close, it would have been difficult to see Vogt signing somewhere outside the Bay Area — after all, he’s a Visalia native who grew up rooting for the Giants, spent five seasons with the Athletics, and became a massive fan favorite over his lone season in San Francisco. But Vogt acknowledged near the end of the season that the Giants’ managerial choice would play a role in his free-agent decision, and it’s pretty easy to see why he’d be skeptical of new skipper Gabe Kapler (though, for what it’s worth, he briefly played with Kapler on the 2012 Rays).
With 25-year-old Carson Kelly having broken out to the tune of a .245/.348/.478 slash line with 18 homers over 365 plate appearances in 2019, Vogt will likely be a platoon player at best in Arizona. But he’s a perfect fit for Diamondbacks GM Mike Hazen, who has carried three catchers on the roster for a large chunk of his three-season tenure in Arizona and obviously values players who are comfortable at multiple positions — including Chris Herrmann, who saw action at catcher, first base, and all three outfield positions over a two-year tenure with the D-Backs. With David Peralta being rather injury-prone and the Diamondbacks currently lacking a dependable everyday option in right field, Vogt could be a candidate to see some time in the outfield again in 2020, particularly if injuries occur at some point.