Quick Hits: Vogt, Giants, Braves, Phillips, Red Sox

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Mariners bullpen and quality control coach Stephen Vogt will interview with the Giants about their managerial vacancy this week, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.  The Giants have thus far interviewed only internal candidates about the manager’s job, yet Vogt isn’t exactly a true outsider, having played with the Giants during the 2019 season.  Vogt has plenty of other ties to the Bay Area, as he also played six seasons with the Athletics, and hails from Visalia, California (about a four-hour drive from San Francisco).

Vogt only retired from playing after the 2022 season, and his one season on the Mariners’ staff represents his only coaching experience.  That said, Vogt has been regarded as a future manager for years, so it isn’t surprising seeing him immediately pop up as part of a managerial search even though he is relatively lacking in coaching experience.  All of the candidates linked to the Giants thus far would also be first-time MLB skippers, so clearly the front office isn’t prioritizing a long resume when considering its next dugout hire.

Over 10 Major League seasons, Vogt appeared in 794 games with six different teams.  The big majority (528) of that action came with the A’s, but the Giants rank second on Vogt’s game list with 99 games played.  Vogt also briefly played with the Brewers in 2017, so speculatively speaking, it is possible the Brewers might give him some consideration if Craig Counsell doesn’t return as the manager in 2024.

Some more items from around the baseball world…

  • Some flame-throwing relief help figures to be a target for the Braves this winter, as Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that only two bullpens in baseball threw fewer pitches of 96mph or higher than the Braves did in 2023.  Joe Jimenez and Pierce Johnson contributed a big chunk of the high-velocity pitches Atlanta did throw, yet both relievers will be free agents.  With Jesse Chavez also a free agent and Collin McHugh, Kirby Yates, and Brad Hand all on club or mutual options, “the situation allows the Braves to rebuild their bullpen, if they want,” Toscano writes.  Rookie Daysbel Hernandez could be an option on the high-velo front, as Atlanta thought enough of Hernandez’s potential to include him on their ALDS roster even though injury limited the righty to 3 2/3 innings in his first MLB season.
  • J.D. Martinez was known to be a Red Sox trade candidate heading into the 2022 deadline, and WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports that the Dodgers came “very close” to a deal to land the veteran slugger.  However, talks fell through when the Sox asked for Evan Phillips to also be included in the trade package.  At the time, Phillips was partway through a breakout 2022 season that saw him post a 1.14 ERA over 63 innings, and he went on to another outstanding year as the Dodgers’ first-choice closer in 2023 (2.05 ERA over 61 1/3 frames, with 24 saves).  Since the Dodgers pivoted to adding Joey Gallo at that deadline, it’s easy to wonder if Martinez could’ve or would’ve done more to upgrade the lineup, yet it’s hard to fault the team’s logic in wanting to retain Phillips.  As it turned out, L.A. got the best of both worlds in 2023, with Phillips closing games and Martinez delivering a big year at the plate after signing with the Dodgers as a free agent last offseason.

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