By Jason Shetler
In 2001, the Pirates acquired Ryan Vogelsong from the San Francisco Giants as part of the Jason Schmidt deal. On Friday, it was announced that Vogelsong would be returning to Pittsburgh for a second time around. The 38-year-old right-hander inked a one-year deal worth $2 million, which includes incentives that could max out the contract at $5 million.
Vogelsong had a down year in 2015, as he posted a 4.67 ERA pitching between the Giants rotation and bullpen. His Fielding Independent Pitching was slightly better at 4.53. Vogelsong will pitch near the back end of the rotation, essentially taking the place of Charlie Morton, who was dealt to the Philadelphia Phillies last weekend. Allen Webster was released by the Pirates so he could sign on with the Samsung Lions of the KBO. Vogelsong gives them back another starter for depth.
Despite the mediocre ERA this past season, Vogelsong has more of a track record to be a for certain in the rotation than Webster. I’m not anticipating Vogelsong to put up great numbers in 2016, but he has a chance to provide more consistent innings in the rotation than Morton for a fraction of the cost. The Pirates starting pitching depth isn’t deep right now, so Vogelsong gives them a short term rotation option until Tyler Glasnow or Jameson Taillon get called up midseason.