Mets add pop at DH in trade for Vogelbach

July 23rd, 2022

NEW YORK -- The Mets acquired left-handed-hitting slugger Daniel Vogelbach from the Pirates on Friday for rookie reliever Colin Holderman, the teams announced.

With the Mets, Vogelbach should be a big bat to use against right-handed pitching, probably as a designated hitter. He's expected to join the Mets on Saturday at Citi Field.

Vogelbach is batting .228 with 12 home runs, a .769 OPS and a 117 OPS+ this season. But against righties, he's batting .260 with all 12 of his homers, an .896 OPS and a 153 OPS+.

"I've seen Daniel Vogelbach, dating all the way back to high school. I remember going to watch him," Mets general manager Billy Eppler said on Friday. "He's hit everywhere he's been, and that's what we're going to ask him to do when he gets over here."

The 29-year-old DH/first baseman is a career .213 hitter with 61 home runs in 412 big league games. Fifty-five of Vogelbach's 61 homers are against right-handed pitching, and he has an .817 OPS against righties.

Vogelbach's best season came with the Mariners in 2019, when he was an All-Star and hit 30 home runs.

He fills one of the Mets' needs in advance of the Aug. 2 Trade Deadline. When the Mets have used a left-handed-hitting DH this season, they've gotten little offensive production. In 124 plate appearances, lefty Mets DHs are batting .152 with a .458 OPS -- lowest of any team with even 50 plate appearances by lefty DHs -- and just one home run.

The Mets have more moves they might make -- including adding relief pitching, which makes it interesting that they traded Holderman, who'd been a pleasant surprise for New York. The 26-year-old right-hander had a 2.04 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings over 15 relief appearances in his first Major League season.

Eppler said that relief help seems like it will be easier to get before the Deadline than impact bats, one of the reasons that prompted the Vogelbach trade. A trade for a reliever could be still to come.

"Some of the conversations I've had with other clubs have given me the feeling that there might be a little bit more robust of a relief market than the bats," Eppler said. "So we had to use this opportunity to do that."

Eppler said he didn't want to give up Holderman, but because Vogelbach has a club option for 2023 in his contract and isn't slated to be a free agent until 2025, the Pirates had little urgency to trade him.

"I ran through a number of different iterations to try to not have to yield Colin in this transaction, and Pittsburgh didn't have to move a player," Eppler said. "We had to give them, ultimately, the player that they dug their heels in on."

The Mets also recalled right-handed reliever Yoan López from Triple-A Syracuse. López has a 3.12 ERA and eight strikeouts in 8 2/3 innings in five Major League games this season.