Giants' Vogelsong signs 2-year extension

BY foxsports • January 11, 2012

Last offseason, Ryan Vogelsong pitched in the Venezuelan Winter League before signing a minor-league contract with the San Francisco Giants.

One All-Star season later, Vogelsong will arrive at spring training with much more security — in the form of a two-year, $8.3 million contract he signed with the Giants on Wednesday. The deal includes a club option for 2014.

Without the new contract, Vogelsong would have become a free agent after the upcoming season — at the same time as San Francisco ace Matt Cain.

The deal allows the Giants and Vogelsong’s agent, Dave Meier, to avoid what would have been a complicated salary arbitration case. Meier could have argued for a high salary based on Vogelsong's 2011 performance — 13-7 record and 2.71 ERA — but the right-hander's career was statistically unremarkable before that point.

Vogelsong toiled through three seasons in the Japanese League before Triple-A stints in 2010 for the Phillies and Angels. In the Bay Area with the team that originally drafted him in the fifth round in 1998, Vogelsong became a front-line starter at last. And he did so at first by filling in for injured Barry Zito.

''It's such a great story when a player perseveres the way Ryan has in baseball,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. ''He's had to go through the ups and downs and then has a breakout season and he gets rewarded. This is well-earned. He's got the game. He's got great stuff with command and he does all the little things. We're excited about what he did for us last year and now to tie him up, we're excited and happy for him. It truly is an amazing story.''

Before Vogelsong signed the contract, the Giants had one of the most expensive rotations in baseball: Barry Zito, Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Cain and Vogelsong.

Invited to spring training on a minor league deal, Vogelsong became a feel-good story and won the team's ''Willie Mac'' Award. The honor is named for Hall of Famer Willie McCovey and is voted on by players, coaches and training staff for the most inspirational Giants player on the field and in the clubhouse.

Even Vogelsong didn't see all this success coming in his comeback with his first club. He has said, ''From Day 1, I've been a Giant at heart.''

Vogelsong joined the Giants in mid-April, starting 3-0 and winning six straight decisions during one stretch spanning the All-Star break. He won his final three starts after a five-start losing streak, a rare bump along the way during his breakout year.

''He had a tremendous year last year and he's the consummate pro,'' said Bobby Evans, the team's vice president of baseball operations. ''We're proud to have him back in a Giants uniform. Last year, to see his success and to see him get to take that beyond one year, is great. I think he was one of the biggest surprises in baseball.''

Bochy said Vogelsong will be his projected fourth starter behind Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. Barry Zito is the fifth starter heading into spring training next month for the 2010 World Series champions.

Also on the to-do list for general manager Brian Sabean is locking up Lincecum and Cain for the long haul - at least that's the hope.

''No update at this time. All discussions are in progress,'' Evans said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



share story