The Oakland Athletics recalled catcher Stephen Vogt from Triple-A on Sunday and optioned relief pitcher Fernando Rodriguez back to Sacramento to make space on the roster. Vogt is in the lineup Sunday against the Angels.
There are two things which predicated this move. The first is that two position players are banged up right now and Bob Melvin needs another healthy player to work with. First baseman Brandon Moss is dealing with some calf tightness and is out of the lineup again, although he is already feeling much better. Meanwhile, right fielder Josh Reddick hyperextended his knee making a catch on Saturday. Both players are considered day-to-day, and today is a day, and they will both miss this day, so the A's elected to bring in some help.
The second possible motivation behind this move involves Ryan Cook. Despite my adamant predictions that he was/is headed for Tommy John surgery, he is apparently back to throwing and is expected to return from the DL sometime soon (he's been eligible to come back for over a week). When Cook is activated, Rodriguez would have been demoted anyway, so there's a good bet that the A's know Cook will be back in a few days and that they can operate with a six-man bullpen until then. It probably helps that Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir are starting the next two contests, and that Rodriguez just pitched yesterday. May as well go with the extra position player until Cook is ready.
As for the 29-year-old Vogt, we all know who he is. He came up last year when John Jaso got hurt and hit .252/.295/.400 (95 OPS+) with four home runs in 148 PA's. His plate discipline was not quite as good as I'd hoped based on his minor league numbers, but it was decent (nine walks, 28 K's). But then he became an Oakland immortal by delivering the walk-off RBI single in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tigers. And then he came into spring training and batted .364/.429/.659 with three homers in around 50 PA's, but lost the game of musical roster spots to Daric Barton since Barton was out of options.
Vogt pulled an oblique and missed the first month of the season in Sacramento, but he's back and he hasn't missed a beat from his performance in March. In 21 games for the River Cats (97 PA's), he's hitting .364/.412/.602 with three homers and a walk for every strikeout. He's also got a pair of triples, because apparently Stephen Vogt can hit triples. (He had one for Oakland last year and has 22 in the minors.) Note that in 2013, his numbers were similar in Triple-A (.945 OPS, compared to this year's 1.015), so those stats are meant to show that he's as good as he was last year rather than that he has made a vast, Donaldson-like improvement.
With Vogt on board, the A's can DH either Derek Norris or John Jaso every single day if they want because there is a third catcher available. The only downside is that the team's versatility takes a hit since Vogt only plays one posi--
Melvin also mentioned that Vogt can play left field.— Aaron Leibowitz (@aaron_leib) June 1, 2014
Well that's interesting. I guess he's going to fit into this team even better than we thought he would.
As for Rodriguez, the right-hander was fantastic in his first stint in Oakland. He threw eight innings in six games, allowing one run (1.13 ERA) on four hits and two walks to go with four strikeouts. He will most certainly be back at some point this season; now taking bets on whether he'll return before or after his 30th birthday on June 18.
Welcome back to Oakland, Stephen Vogt! We've been expecting you.
(h/t to Aaron Leibowitz of MLB.com for the insider analysis in the linked tweets. Also John Shea for Reddick update.)