Sources: #Astros in serious discussions with free-agent RHP Ryan Vogelsong.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) January 19, 2015
It's Ken Rosenthal, so the ideal must certainly have some legs, but this is a seemingly-odd and certainly-unexpected piece of news. The Astros, after all, just dealt Dexter Fowler to Chicago for a package that included a man you had to assume would plug right into the 2015 rotation. After weeks of speculation, it seemed that Houston had found the back-end starter they'd been rumored to be hunting for.
Now this. 24 hour ago this would have been a much simpler article; now we have to ask questions for which we may not have answers to until late March.
The big one is role; what do to the Astros envision Vogelsong as? Vogelsong has tossed more than 150 innings in three of his last four seasons, so no one would bat an eye at him slotting into the back of the rotation. But Straily appears to have some significant upside, if we've pegged Brent Strom's philosophy and methods correctly.
This raises the possibility that Vogelsong may be next in line of the veteran starters that Luhnow has brought in to fill the nebulous "long man's" role on the club. Edgar Gonzalez, Philip Humber, Jerome Williams, and now, perhaps, Vogelsong. That list would hardly put him in good company, yet when injuries hit, when prospects prove they're not quite ready yet, those men have the ability to step in an potentially provide non-embarrassing performances on short notice. There's value in that.
For all we know, late in the game, this may not even be a Major League contract. With two spots in the rotation open and a small host of question marks currently scheduled to duke it out for them, perhaps Vogelsong is willing to come aboard and fight for his place, hoping his veteran leadership and playoff experience give him the edge over Brett Oberholtzer, Brad Peacock and the rest.
If the signing goes through, the details of the contract should help provide some level of clarity. As of now, though, while the timing is surprising, it can be said that there is certainly precedent for this kind of move. What do you think? Are you interested in Vogelsong? What do you see his ideal role with the club as being?