Seattle Mariners: The Curious Case of Daniel Vogelbach, 2019 Edition

PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 06: Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners smiles on the field during the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at Peoria Stadium on March 06, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
PEORIA, ARIZONA - MARCH 06: Daniel Vogelbach #20 of the Seattle Mariners smiles on the field during the spring training game against the Oakland Athletics at Peoria Stadium on March 06, 2019 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images) /

Ah yes, it’s that time of year again. Fans are flocking to T-Mobile park in bunches to see the 2019 Seattle Mariners. Even with a new name, fans can still expect the same experience as they have received in past years. The crack of the bat, the smell of delicious, albeit overpriced, hotdogs and Daniel Vogelbach stuck riding the bench. Wait a second…

In case you have been living under a rock over the past six months, the Mariners have seen a lot of turnover. Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz are in Queens, James Paxton is in the Bronx, Jean Segura is in Philly and Mike Zunino is in Tampa Bay.

The M’s have decided to tear it up and go younger with players like Mallex Smith and Omar Narvaez in the bigs and guys such as JP Crawford and Justus Sheffield, along with many others, waiting in the wings. You would think that would mean Vogelbach, finally out of the shadow of Nelson Cruz, would be receiving his fair share of playing time. Not so fast.

Over the first few games of the season, Vogelbach has just four at-bats with seven plate appearances. In those trips, Vogey is 0-4 with 3 strikeouts, an HBP, two walks and a run. That seems a bit odd when Scott Servais and Jerry Dipoto stated that Vogey was finally going to get a chance to prove what he can do at the major league level. And what better year to do that than a year where there are no expectations?

The biggest problem is the glut of first base/DH type players on the roster. With the injury to Kyle Seager, things get a bit easier because Ryon Healy will see most of his time at 3B. That leaves Vogey in competition with 33-year-old Jay Bruce and 36-year-old Edwin Encarnacion.

Guys on the wrong side of 30 arents usually the guys you give ABs to in the midst of a rebuild. Vogelbach is just 26 with a mere 131 at-bats in the big leagues.

So why is this the case? Well, first of all, it’s hard to imagine that the Mariners expected to enter the season with both Bruce and Encarnacion still in a Mariners uniform. When the trade for Encarnacion went down, rumors were swirling that he would be flipped to the Ray’s immediately after. Whether there was any substance to this is yet to be seen.

There were only a few teams that made sense for either player to be traded to besides the Rays and obviously none of that ever came to fruition.

I understand the importance of getting both Bruce and Encarnacion opportunities to increase their trade value prior to the trade deadline but that does not mean, in any capacity, that Vogey shouldn’t be getting a couple starts a week. He will never be able to show anything only receiving 4 ABs a week. Give Bruce a day off and start Vogey at 1st. Maybe Santana could use a day, put Bruce in left and Voegey at 1st or DH. It’s actually pretty simple.

The only start that Vogey received was when Mallex Smith took a day off, shifting Haniger to center and Bruce to the OF. In fact, it would probably be better to give one of Bruce or Encarnacion a few days off their feet to keep them fresh, especially with Bruce coming off of an injury plagued 2018 season.

Obviously, I have been pretty vocal in my support of Daniel Vogelbach over the past few years but it is ridiculous just how little opportunity he has received at the big league level. There have been plenty of fans saying that Vogey hasn’t shown enough at the plate to warrant any more opportunities but as pointed out on the Sodo Mojo Twitter Monday night, that’s not a good excuse.

Stated in the tweet, in his first 135 Plate appearances, Mike Trout hit .220/.281/.390. Vogey has hit .191/.307/.305 in his first 153 Plate appearances. Now before you have a heart attack about us comparing the two, we are in no way saying that Daniel Vogelbach can be the next Mike Trout.

We are simply saying that you can’t say that Vogey won’t find success in the majors just because he hasn’t yet. Just imagine if the Angel’s thought that way about Trout and never let him play or released him just like the Mariners fans are advising the team to do with Vogey.

To add on to that point, Trout received all 135 plate appearances in one season and received consistent playing time whereas Vogeys 153 plate appearances have been spread out over the span of four seasons and haven’t seen an ounce of consistent playing time. It is impossible to ever find your groove when you only face live pitching once or twice a week.

Vogelbach has been set up to fail since day one to no fault of his own. The fact that Encarnacion is still on the roster was a massive oversight by GM Jerry Dipoto, who had to assume that he could trade him before the start of the season.

Is Daniel Vogelbach the first baseman of the future? Probably not, with Evan White waiting in the wings. However, Vogey could easily be the DH of the future. Once Nelson Cruz left, the spot was open until another old but still productive player took his place. For now, it’s not like you can’t put Vogey at first because you’re worried about his defense. He is no worse than Jay Bruce or Edwin Encarnacion over there and the team seems set on making at least two errors a night so who really cares?

With Vogelbachs elite eye, he could easily lead the team in OBP. He has done exactly what the front office asked when they implemented the “Control the Zone” movement and yet has nothing to show for it. His power plays at the big league level, just ask the Hit it Here Cafe sign.

He does carry some swing and miss in his game but who doesn’t these days? All in all, there is no reason to not be giving Daniel Cornelius Vogelbach at-bats. He just keeps getting blocked. In Chicago, Anthony Rizzo was in the way at 1st. In Seattle, Nelson Cruz, Ryon Healy, Jay Bruce, and Encarnacion have proved to be roadblocks as well.

Things can change in an instant. Somebody could get injured and the opportunity may finally arise for Vogey but that’s not how he should have to get ABs. He should be getting them even with Bruce finally swinging the bat and helping lead the Mariners to a 6-1 start.

If that doesn’t happen, it would seem Vogeys only hope is that one of Encarnacion or Bruce gets traded and at the current juncture, there aren’t really any teams that need them. What about when Seager comes back? What happens to Vogey then? There are just too many question marks that don’t need to be problems.

This is the biggest year of Daniel Vogelbachs career and he is being shoved to the side. He could be one of the cogs in the future of Seattle baseball but instead the At Bats are going to guys that will be gone within a year. It’s frustrating to watch and it has to be frustrating to Vogey.

Kimbrel, Mariners Marriage Doesn't Make Sense for Either Side. dark. Next

If you aren’t going to use him, trade him so he gets a chance before you ruin what could have otherwise been a productive career. Something has to change and quick. For the sake of the future of the Seattle Mariners: Free Vogey.