SAN FRANCISCO (CBS / AP) — Once Ryan Vogelsong got over the hurt and frustration that followed when the Giants declined his option last month, the pitcher realized he still wanted to stay put in San Francisco.
“Being mad never gets anything accomplished,” he said Wednesday.
Vogelsong is right back where he wanted to be all along, with the ability to still do nearly as well financially, too. He finalized his $5 million, one-year contract with the Giants on Wednesday after passing his physical—a month after the club didn’t pick up his $6.5 million contract option for 2014. San Francisco owed him a $300,000 buyout.
Now, his new deal includes performance bonuses for starts and innings pitched.
“This whole deal really isn’t about ego and money for me,” Vogelsong said. “This game never has been about that. It’s about being the best pitcher I can be and winning baseball games.”
While it seemed early in free agency the sides might go their separate ways, they found common ground.
“First and foremost our intent wasn’t necessarily to part ways with Vogey,” general manager Brian Sabean said. “I knew in my heart we would, as things go, find a way to work out a way to get him back under a different contract scenario, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Vogelsong is eager to forget the frustration of last season and begin fresh in a place and clubhouse where he already feels comfortable.
“Obviously when the option got declined, I was upset and more hurt than anything else,” Vogelsong said. “After taking a couple days and gathering myself and reading between the lines a little bit personally, at the end of the day I felt San Francisco and this family was the best place for me and for Nicole and we were going to try to do what we needed to do to make this work and get back here.”
He went 4-6 with a 5.73 ERA in 19 starts and 103 2-3 innings during an injury-shortened season. He broke two bones in the right pinkie area of his pitching hand and also dislocated a knuckle on a swing May 20 and underwent surgery the next day. He had five pins inserted in his hand.
“My hand’s a non-issue, it’s back to normal,” he said. “Just maintenance to make sure it’s as strong as I can get it.”
Vogelsong won 13 and 14 games the previous two seasons. The journeyman pitcher became one of baseball’s feel-good comeback stories in 2011, when he made the All-Star team after joining the Giants’ rotation first as a fill in for the injured Barry Zito.
Vogelsong had toiled through three seasons in the Japanese League before Triple-A stints in 2010 for the Phillies and Angels. In the Bay Area with the team that originally drafted him in the fifth round in 1998, Vogelsong became a front-line starter at last.
Invited to spring training in 2011 on a minor league deal, he went on to win the team’s “Willie Mac” Award—named for Hall of Famer Willie McCovey and is voted on by players, coaches and training staff for the most inspirational Giants player on the field and in the clubhouse. Vogelsong set a career high for wins while going 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA in 30 games and 28 starts.
He then received an $8.3 million, two-year contract in January 2012.
Vogelsong won three games during the 2012 postseason for the eventual World Series champion Giants, including one during a 4-0 sweep of the Tigers for the team’s second championship in three years.
“We all know his story and we all know what his success has been here,” Sabean said. “If anybody deserves a pass after the year he had last year, there’s nothing wrong with him physically and there’s nothing wrong with his arm. Mentally he’s as sharp and more determined.”
Bringing back Vogelsong—something Sabean and assistant GM Bobby Evans weren’t sure would happen—will give the Giants a set rotation going into spring training come February.
Vogelsong joins new addition right-hander Tim Hudson, recently re-signed two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum, lefty Madison Bumgarner and right-hander Matt Cain.
“At this point in time I expect Ryan to be in the rotation,” Sabean said. “That’s why we signed him.”
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