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Vogt, Brewers strike deal for 1-year contract

MLB.com @AdamMcCalvy

MILWAUKEE -- Scratch "catcher" off the Brewers' offseason to-do list. Milwaukee signed Stephen Vogt to a one-year contract on Friday, avoiding arbitration.

Vogt's non-guaranteed deal is for $3.065 million, and it began a busy day for the Brewers. They also signed Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year deal with a pair of club options to avoid arbitration, non-tendered reliever Jared Hughes and tendered 2018 contracts to four other arbitration-eligibles: Corey Knebel, Jimmy Nelson, Hernan Perez and Jonathan Villar.

MILWAUKEE -- Scratch "catcher" off the Brewers' offseason to-do list. Milwaukee signed Stephen Vogt to a one-year contract on Friday, avoiding arbitration.

Vogt's non-guaranteed deal is for $3.065 million, and it began a busy day for the Brewers. They also signed Jeremy Jeffress to a one-year deal with a pair of club options to avoid arbitration, non-tendered reliever Jared Hughes and tendered 2018 contracts to four other arbitration-eligibles: Corey Knebel, Jimmy Nelson, Hernan Perez and Jonathan Villar.

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Vogt said the agreement was struck Thursday night, and he was so excited he had trouble sleeping.

"This team, we were one game from the playoffs, and I felt like this is where we wanted to be, where we belong," Vogt said.

Tweet from @SVogt1229: @VogtAlyssa and I are super excited to be back in MKE next year!! We feel blessed and know 2018 will be a year to remember with the Crew! pic.twitter.com/Wwqyw9HQ5K

Agreements like Vogt's are not uncommon between teams and arbitration-eligible players at the non-tender deadline. In some cases, a player must choose between taking an offer for less or being cut loose and joining the pool of free agents.

The Brewers claimed the two-time All-Star off waivers from the A's in June and paired Vogt, a left-handed hitter, with right-handed-hitting primary catcher Manny Pina. Vogt threw out only one of 28 basestealers the rest of the season, but he was productive at the plate, hitting eight home runs with a .789 OPS in 122 at-bats.

Video: MIL@MIA: Vogt belts a two-run homer to right-center

Vogt, who turned 33 on Nov. 1, spent four weeks on the disabled list in July and August for a sprained left knee suffered in a home-plate collision in Pittsburgh. He was able to return and play regularly in September while Pina was sidelined by a hip injury.

With ongoing physical therapy, the knee is nearing 100 percent, said Vogt. He is just as focused this offseason on his right arm.

"Obviously, I need to make some improvements with my throwing, and I'm taking steps this winter to do that," Vogt said. "It's going back to a couple of years ago, trying to clean up my mechanics with my arm stroke and obviously trying to gain some strength, doing some weighted ball program-type stuff. And I'm throwing earlier in the winter than I have in the past.

"It's one of those things that you don't realize there's been a change until you look back over the year and look at the video. … I used to throw the ball well, and at times I did throw the ball well this year, I just didn't get the results I got in the past. I wanted to clean that up."

The Brewers' third catcher, Jett Bandy, is out of options coming off a debut season in the Brewers' organization in which he hit .207/.287/.349 in 169 big league at-bats but was better in the Minors, where he hit .319/.431/.532. He also missed time with an injury, spending most of August sidelined by a broken left rib after being hit by a pitch.

The Brewers gave up a premium defensive catcher, Martin Maldonado, in a trade for Bandy, only to see Maldonado win the American League Gold Glove Award. The fact Vogt's deal is non-guaranteed buys some time to make a decision in Spring Training, since the Brewers will not be on the hook for Vogt's full salary until Opening Day.

"I like my chances when I have to bet on myself, so to speak," Vogt said. "I'm fully confident I will be in Milwaukee. I'm super excited."

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy and like him on Facebook.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Milwaukee Brewers, Stephen Vogt