A’s Stephen Vogt to retire after 2022 season

Two-time All-Star and fan favorite Stephen Vogt has decided to retire from Major League Baseball at the end of the 2022 season. The veteran catcher shared his plans to call it a career after 10 years in the big leagues with Janie McCauley of the Associated Press. 

Originally a 12th-round pick by the Rays in 2007, Vogt made his MLB debut with Tampa in 2012 at age 27, going hitless in all 25 of his at-bats during his first season. Traded to Oakland the following April, Vogt saw his hitless streak extend to 0-for-32 before finally connecting on his first hit (a home run).

Despite his slow start, Vogt quickly endeared himself to A’s fans with his heroics in the 2013 postseason. Facing Justin Verlander in the ninth inning of a scoreless Game 2 of the ALDS, Vogt lined a single with the bases loaded to walk off the Tigers and even the series at one game apiece.

Vogt’s role expanded during the 2014 season, logging a total of 84 games as a catcher, first baseman, left fielder, right fielder and designated hitter. To the tune of a .279/.321/.431 slash, Vogt helped propel the A’s to a wild-card berth. To this day, cheers of “I believe in Stephen Vogt!” continue to ring out at RingCentral Coliseum during his plate-appearances — a callback to his original stint in green and gold.

The next few years would see Vogt develop into one of the most dependable and productive catchers in the league. From 2014 to 2016, he swatted 41 home runs, drove in 162 runs and posted a wRC+ of 105, good for seventh among catchers. Though he spent most of his prime years behind the dish, Vogt continued to collect innings at first base, left field and right field for Oakland. His blend of offensive production with defensive versatility earned him nods to the American League All-Star team in 2015 and 2016.

The A’s designated Vogt for assignment in June 2017 after he struggled during the first half. He finished the season in Milwaukee, where he accumulated a .789 OPS for a contending Brewers team. Just when Vogt looked as if he was back on track, a shoulder injury kept him out for all of 2018, threatening his career. When the Giants gave him an opportunity by signing him to a minor-league deal at the beginning of 2019, Vogt relished it. He slashed .263/.314/.490, hit 10 home runs in 99 games and re-established himself as a productive big-leaguer.

Vogt went on to spend the COVID-shortened 2020 and the beginning of 2021 with the Diamondbacks before being traded to the Atlanta Braves, with whom he earned a World Series ring. Oakland welcomed him back on a one-year contract at the beginning of 2022, where he will finish his playing career. Altogether, Vogt will have amassed with well over 700 games played, more than 500 hits and nearly $14M earned by the time his season ends. Vogt himself summed up his roller-coaster career, telling McCauley:

“I haven’t always been the best player. I’ve been one of the best players in the league, I’ve been one of the worst players in the league. I’ve been injured and everywhere in between, I’ve been DFA’d twice, I’ve been traded, I’ve been non-tendered, you name it. I’ve been the guy that knew he was going to have a job next year to the guy that had to fight for his job next year, and just always go out and earn it.”

Though his retirement spells the end of his playing career, it seems that Vogt will not be able to stay away from the game for long. Renowned for his clubhouse presence and reputation as a beloved teammate, Vogt drew high praise from former A’s (now Padres) manager Bob Melvin, who told McCauley that he is bullish on Vogt’s managerial potential: “What he means to a clubhouse is immeasurable… [Vogt] definitely has a future in managing.”

Vogt himself said in 2020 that he’s “always wanted to manage,” so it shouldn’t be a surprise to see him mentioned in potential coaching and managerial searches down the line.

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