Stephen Vogt: New Backup Catcher for Arizona Diamondbacks

Stephen Vogt

Stephen Vogt: Arizona Diamondbacks Backup Catcher

This past November the Arizona Diamondbacks signed veteran catcher Stephen Vogt to back up Carson Kelly. After having both Alex Avila and Caleb Joseph last year, the Diamondbacks decided to allow both to sign elsewhere.

Salary Breakdown

Vogt will receive a salary of $2.5 million in 2020. The contract also includes a $500,000 buyout of a $3 million option for the 2021 campaign. The San Francisco Giants offered him more in guaranteed money than the Diamondbacks, but he wanted to come to Arizona to compete for a roster spot. However, if his option vests and he makes all of his contract incentives, he can earn up to $7 million over the two-year span of the contract. That eventually won his signing with Arizona.

Long Road to the Majors

The Tampa Bay Rays selected Vogt in the 12th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball draft. He spent six years in minor leagues before debuting with the Rays in 2012 at age 27. After failing to get a hit in his first 13 at-bats, he was sent to the minors. Vogt would bounce back and forth between the majors and minors for most of the 2012 season.

Traded to Oakland

After an invitation to Spring Training 2013, the Rays designated Vogt for assignment on March 31. He was eventually traded to the Oakland Athletics. He spent parts of five seasons — including a 2015 All-Star appearance — with Oakland and was a very popular player with the fans and his teammates.

In a surprise move on June 22, 2017, Oakland designated him for assignment. At the time he was cut, he was the second-longest tenured Athletics player. During his five seasons with the A’s, he hit .255 with 49 home runs and 198 RBI in 458 games.

Another New Team

June 25, 2017, Vogt was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers to be a platoon with Manny Piña. He was injured on July 17 when Pittsburgh Pirates Chad Kuhl collided with him at home plate. Vogt’s left leg bent backwards during the collision. He suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his knee, forcing him to miss a month. He did come back but was never fully healthy for the season.

The Brewers re-signed Vogt in 2018, planning for him to platoon with Piña. However, he hurt his right shoulder during a spring training workout. When it didn’t heal, it was later discovered to be a strained rotator cuff. After being sidelined for several months, he began a rehabilitation assignment with their Double-A affiliate. He was one day away from returning to the Brewers when he re-injured the shoulder making a throw to third base. Once again, he damaged his rotator cuff. That damage required season-ending surgery.

Though he never played a major league game for the Brewers in 2018, he traveled with the team, supporting the players and assisting the coaching staff. Regardless, the Brewers waived him on November 1. He elected free agency instead of accepting a minor league assignment.

Feared Career was Over

At age 35, Vogt feared his career was over. However, he landed with the Giants in 2019 on a minor league deal. He played with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats until early May, when he was called up to the Giants.

In 280 plate appearances spread over 99 games for the Giants, he hit .263 with 10 home runs. That batting average was his highest since 2014. Vogt also posted a career-high slugging percentage of .490.

This past November he elected to go the free agency route again, ending his brief time with the Giants, and signed with Arizona on November 26.

Role with Diamondbacks

Stephen Vogt is set to be the main backup to Carson Kelly since it appears the Diamondbacks will only use two catchers this season. Not only will he spell Kelly, he provides Kelly another veteran mentor to keep learning from. Vogt may even be Madison Bumgarner’s personal catcher since they both played with the Giants last season.

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