Milwaukee Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt was activated from the DL on Thursday, and elected to become a free agent. Could he return in 2019?
Stephen Vogt came to the Milwaukee Brewers when he was selected off waivers in the middle of the 2017 season. He signed a one-year deal after the 2017 season, and still has a year of arbitration eligibility left. However, that really doesn’t matter now because Vogt is a free agent.
Vogt spent the entire 2018 season on the 60-day DL. In a procedural move, the Brewers activated Vogt off the 60-day DL, and outrighted him. Vogt had the choice of becoming a free agent, or taking a Minor League assignment. He elected to become a free agent. He’s now able to sign with any team in the league, but is there a chance for a return to Milwaukee in 2019?
How did Vogt do with the Brewers?
Well, he posted a .254/.281/.508 slash line in 45 games in 2017. He was on pace to make the Milwaukee Brewers Opening Day roster in 2018, but a shoulder injury forced him to start the year on the DL. He started a rehab assignment in late April, but suffered a setback in early May. That setback required season-ending surgery, and Vogt was placed on the 60-day DL without making an appearance with the Brewers in 2018.
Is he fully healthy?
It’s unclear, but probably not at this point. It’s believed that he won’t be ready to start the 2019 season, but he should find the field at some point. It remains to be seen how a 34-year old catcher responds to shoulder surgery.
What are the chances of a return?
Also unclear, but it really depends on the market, and what Vogt is willing to accept.
It sounds like Vogt wouldn’t mind a return to the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019, but it depends on his health and his contract expectations. If he needs a lot of time before he can start playing again, he may go without a contract, or have to settle for a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Vogt was an under the radar acquisition that looked great when he was first acquired. He paired well with Manny Pina, and was on track to start the season in the Major Leagues before he got hurt. Vogt looked like a solid, cost-controlled, veteran that would be the offensive half of a solid catching duo. Sadly, it didn’t work out. It would be great to see a healthy Vogt pair again with Pina, but it really depends on how the off season plays out. If the Milwaukee Brewers look to sign Yasmani Grandal or deal for J.T. Realmuto, Vogt probably won’t fit into the 2019 plans.