Today the news the Mariners have optioned first baseman Dan Vogelbach to Tacoma. The M’s worked throughout the winter with Vogelbach to improve his defense. Though it was clear there was some improvement, he still had work to do.
Surprisingly, however, it was the stocky first baseman’s bat that let him down. Vogelbach has shown the ability to hit throughout his minor league career. He started well in the Cactus League, showing the ability to get on base, hitting the ball to the opposite field, though he hadn’t shown much power. However, he’d done nothing but struggle the last ten days, going 1-24 with ten strikeouts over his last 10 games.
Mariners skipper Scott Servais left the door open for Vogelbach’s return, assuring him the things he needed to work on should be done away from the day-to-day pressures of the big league club. He used catcher Mike Zunino and pitcher James Paxton as examples of players who went to Tacoma to fix things, but came back as important pieces of the team.
“We will take the appropriate time and care to make sure that when [Vogelbach] comes to the big leagues, he’s polished enough in the areas that are important.”
Sending out Vogelbach out with ten days until the start of the regular season gives right-hander Danny Valencia regular time at first base to prepare for the start of the season. Valencia has also struggled at the plate in Cactus League play with a .196/.288/.326 slash in 46 at-bats. However, he does have the advantage of 2,258 largely successful major league at-bats.
Taylor Motter becomes the back up at first base, having won the utility job by dint of Shawn O’Malley’s untimely adventures with appendicitis. This insures that Guillermo Heredia will also win the fourth outfield job.