It doesn’t seem possible that there have been many players fight harder for a job than the A’s Stephen Vogt, especially when considering there doesn’t seem there’s a job available.
We’re a week away from the A’s having to finalize their roster, and it seems there is no way the club can work it to carry three catchers. And since the other two catchers don’t have options, it seems the A’s will opt to send Vogt to Triple-A Sacramento, keeping lefty John Jaso and right-hander Derek Norris to platoon at the big league level.
Vogt keeps putting pressure on the decision makers. He hit a homer foul with a man on base in the third inning, then came back later in the at-bat to hit the ball out again, this time in fair territory.
In his next at-bat, again batting with a man on base, and again homered to right. This one lifted Oakland into a 6-5 lead moments after a Logan Morrison homer off Dan Otero had given Seattle the lead, and the A’s made that lead stand up.
“He’s not making it easy,’’ manager Bob Melvin said. “I think he leads the club in RBIs now.’’
Vogt actually is tied for the RBI lead with a dozen with shortstop Jed Lowrie. But Vogt has been on target all spring. The 29-year-old left-hander has three homers this spring in limited at-bats. And after the second homer, his average was sitting at .405 with six of his 15 hits going for extra bases. He finished the game at .395.
The A’s spent about one-third of the 2013 season with three catchers, with Vogt one of the last to join the rotation. He did most of his playing after concussions put Jaso on the disabled list. Although the A’s brought back fan favorite Kurt Suzuki for catching depth, he couldn’t wrest playing time away from Vogt, who meshed with the A’s pitchers and who hit .252 with four homers and 16 RBIs in 146 plate trips.
As Saturday’s numbers suggest, he’s been mostly crushing the ball this spring, even with somewhat limited at-bats.
The reality is that the A’s want to break camp with two left-handed first baseman, Brandon Moss and Daric Barton, using Barton at first base and Moss as the DH. The only ways they can do that would be either to go with six men in the bullpen, which is not going to happen, or to go with two catchers, which apparently is.
The fact that Vogt does have options is playing against him, but it would be a surprise if Vogt remained in the minor leagues long. He fits well in the Oakland clubhouse, the pitchers like throwing to him and he hits in the clutch, all of which spell big leaguer.