The Mets wasted no time in finding a designated hitter.
Before starting their first game after the All-Star break, the club announced that it had acquired first baseman/designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach from the Pittsburgh Pirates. In exchange, the Mets sent reliever Colin Holderman to the Pirates.
“We wanted to get an offensive player here,” general manager Billy Eppler said. “We think we did that in landing Woogie, somebody who has really excelled against right-handed pitching. Two-thirds of the pitchers we face are right-handed. So it will remain in order.
“Everybody talks about it a lot,” Buck Showalter backed up afterward. A loss to the Mets on Friday night. “We’re looking forward to having him here. He’s excited. Talking to Colin was tough, he’s been through a lot, but you have to give up quality to get quality.
A left-handed hitter, Vogelbach is slashing .260/.365/.532 against right-handed pitching this season. His .141/.267/.165 slash line against lefties means he’ll likely be benched when the southpaw is starting.
Vogelbach, 29 years old and listed at 6′0″ and 270 pounds, hit .228 for the Pirates this year with 12 home runs in 75 games. Known for an elite batting eye and tremendous power, his on-base (.338) and slugging percentages (.430) look much better than his batting average. Vogelbach has walked in 14.4 percent of his plate appearances in 2022. Ninth-highest rate of any MLB hitter (At least 250 plate appearances.) When Vogelbach joins the Mets, which Eppler expects to be Saturday, he will have the highest walk rate of anyone on the team.
Showalter talked about what he thinks Vogelbach can bring to his lineup.
“He’s been a really good, solid left-handed hitter against right-handed pitching. He’s a very selective hitter when you look at his knowledge of the strike zone. That’s something every team needs. need to
The Cubs drafted Vogelbach in the second round of the 2011 draft before trading him to Seattle in 2016, before he ever played in the majors. Although he served as the Mariners’ lone All-Star during their rebuilding season in 2019, Vogelbach never quite worked out, eventually signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent in March. Before moving on to the Blue Jays and Brewers. This 2019 season, he hit .208 with 30 home runs. But thanks to 92 walks, which tied for fifth in the American League, he finished his career year with a .341 on-base percentage.
Vogelbach, who hasn’t started a single game at first base for the Pirates this year, has almost as much of a DH arrival. Universal DH has been a good ascent for him and will likely extend his career for many years. Last season, he started a career-high 52 games at first base for the Brewers, who were unable to use him as a DH. Eppler said it remains to be determined whether he will play any first base, and infield coach Joey Cora will have some time to adjust.
Currently playing in his seventh major league season, Vogelbach also has a little postseason experience. He went 1-for-6 with a walk in his appearances for the Brewers during the 2020 and 2021 playoffs.
Meanwhile, Holderman has been extremely effective for the Mets in his limited innings. Bouncing back and forth between Triple-A and the Mets several times, the 26-year-old reliever posted a 2.04 ERA in 17.2 innings. He held hitters to a .183 average while not allowing a single home run. The Mets took Holderman in the ninth round of the 2016 draft. As recently as 2019, he was working as a starter in their minor league system.
“It was really tough,” Eppler said of dealing Holderman, who forced the Pirates to “dig their heels in” and make it clear he was who they wanted. “I let him know. In a way we have to rob Peter to pay Paul. Some of my conversations with other clubs have made me realize that there could be a much stronger relief market than bats.”
with Dom Smith is headed to IL with an ankle injury., Vogelbach serves as an obvious alternative. The Mets started Travis Blankenhorn, a career minor leaguer, at DH on Friday. While Vogelbach is a clear upgrade in that department, his Collander defense and allergy to left-handed pitching make him one-dimensional.
When asked if the deal indicates he will continue to improve the offense, Eppler said the team is open-minded to anything. But they ended their deadline with someone Eppler said he remembers scouting in high school, a guy with the kind of profile to become an instant Mets cult hero. .
“In getting Daniel, we were able to get a power bat here with plate discipline. He really fits our offensive philosophy. He makes good decisions in the batter’s box, swings at strikes and swings at balls. No, great on-base percentage and great power. I’ve already talked to him on the phone and he said he’s ready to go.