NEW YORK — Monday marks the unofficial holiday of Christmas in July. A day before the celebration, the struggling Mets offense received a gift in the form of a big and jolly man.
No, Daniel Vogelbach does not have a big white beard, but what he does have has seemed to bring back some of the spirit for the first-place Mets. Making his debut with the team after being acquired on Friday from Pittsburgh, Vogelbach reached base twice and seemed to spark the Mets during an 8-5 Sunday night win over San Diego.
“I mean, most importantly was that we won,” Vogelbach said after the game. “That’s the most satisfying thing for me.”
Trade:Mets acquire Daniel Vogelbach from Pirates for Colin Holderman
The Mets began the night struggling against Padres starter Joe Musgrove, who did not allow a hit for the first four innings. Vogelbach led off the fifth with an eight pitch at-bat, capped off by a base hit to put him on base for the first time in blue and orange. Statistically seen as one of the slowest players in baseball, the 270-pound Vogelbach went first to third when Mark Canha doubled to left field. Both runners would be stranded in the inning.
“He kind of got us off the schneid, so to speak,” manager Buck Showalter said. “I think people kind of rallied around his first hit as a Met and I think that was a good feeling in the dugout for a lot of reasons.”
Despite coming up empty, the spark had seemingly been ignited as the Mets would cash in some long overdue runs an inning later. Starling Marte and Francisco Lindor both reached base to lead off the sixth inning, setting the table for Pete Alonso’s 25th home run of the season. Alonso would drive in four runs overall, doubling in the seventh to score Marte again and take the league lead with 82 runs batted in.
Vogelbach would reach base again after Alonso’s home run, working a one out walk. Reaching second base later in the inning, Vogelbach would chug around the bases and score from second base on a bloop single in shallow left field by Luis Guillorme.
Reaction:How Daniel Vogelbach reacted to being traded to the Mets
“To be honest, any time I am on second, my goal is to score,” said Vogelbach. “I feel like that’s something that is in the back of my mind, being a good teammate trying to score for your team and for the guy at the plate to get an RBI. I’m just putting my head down and going.”
It really speaks to Vogelbach’s ability considering he had more history against Musgrove than most of the rest of the lineup. Vogelbach had never gotten a hit off of Musgrove in seven at-bats entering Sunday with four of those battles resulting in a strikeout. Showalter knew the history between the two, but also knew the importance of getting him at-bats after trading for him.
“I watched every at-bat he’s ever had against him last night,” said Showalter about Vogelbach’s history. “But I’m not going to let him sit around here five or six days not playing him after a trade. We have a left-hander on Tuesday after an off day [Monday] and he needed to play and get into the flow of our team tonight and he responded well.”
Vogelbach said he enjoyed the energy felt during the first game he had played at Citi Field in his entire career, being embraced by the fans during a nationally televised primetime game. Vogelbach came to bat on Sunday, fittingly, to a song called “I Love My Homies”, considering he gained more friends in the form of 39,395 fans sitting in the stands.
“That was awesome,” said Vogelbach. “I don’t know that I’ve played in an environment like that, at least being the home team. It’s pretty special and pretty cool to call it my home field now.
Now after taking in part of his first series at his new home and seeing large crowds, Vogelbach prepares to experience the Subway Series for the first time in his career. The Yankees are coming to Citi Field on Tuesday and Wednesday and Vogelbach will be a part of that rivalry for the first time.
“Being a kid and watching baseball, you grew up watching those games,” said Vogelbach. “So, it’s going to be cool to be a part of it. I know I keep saying it, but I’m just excited for the next two months of the regular season. Just put your head down and go.”
Colin Holderman for Daniel Vogelbach set expectations for what’s next
It’s the final Monday of July but not the last one before the trade deadline. This year’s MLB trade deadline will take place next Tuesday, August 2 which gives us one more Sunday to stare up at the ceiling dreading the next day’s work day while pondering what the New York Mets will do before the trade deadline.
On Friday night, shortly before their game with the San Diego Padres, the Mets helped kick off the MLB trade deadline by trading Colin Holderman for Daniel Vogelbach. Initial reactions were a mix of surprise, feeling underwhelming, and also getting a sense of satisfaction.
It was as fair as a trade deadline deal could go. The Pittsburgh Pirates picked up a quality relief pitcher possibly on the rise. The Mets got a bat they can use to upgrade over Dominic Smith.
The Mets trading Colin Holderman for Daniel Vogelbach set expectations for what’s to come
What’s next for the Mets? I’m not quite sure. You don’t know either. We can speculate until the cows come home. We probably will. It’s what we do as fans.
I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is this front office regime will do at all turns. In year one under Steve Cohen, we saw them do much less than most believed they were capable of. This offseason’s spending spree only raised expectations further. It’s a little different at the trade deadline. There aren’t free agents and there are only a handful of teams willing to send you their best players.
By trading Holderman, the Mets showed they are willing to sacrifice good players even for someone at Vogelbach’s level. As much as he can help improve the bench and give them some DH depth, he isn’t a fantastic player. He’s a guy that in the pre-universal DH days would have been the Mets’ Matt Stairs.
Similarly, by adding Vogelbach, the Mets showed us even more. They are willing to pay more than just some low-level minor leaguer to add a bat like his to the lineup. Holderman was becoming a legitimate reliever for the team this year. At the very least, he was someone they could use in case of emergency on a routine basis. He was a viable candidate to stick around for as long as the roster would allow it.
We also saw the team lose interest in allowing Dominic Smith to rebound from his season-long slump. Vogelbach is the replacement for Smith. There is no chance they both share a roster spot because of how limited the roster then becomes with both of them around.
The Vogelbach addition should also hint that the Mets will add a bat with a little more positional versatility than just first base. Could an outfielder be the one they target next?