Blue Jays acquire Vogelbach from Mariners

August 24th, 2020

The Blue Jays made their first deal of the 2020 Trade Deadline season late Sunday, acquiring first baseman/designated hitter from the Mariners.

The Blue Jays will send cash considerations back in the deal for Vogelbach, who was designated for assignment by the Mariners on Wednesday after a slow start at the plate.

Vogelbach, 27, was an All-Star in 2019 when he broke out with 30 home runs and a .780 OPS, but was hitting just .094 with a .476 OPS through 18 games this season. He could offer the Blue Jays a bench bat against right-handed pitching, which he’s handled well at points in his career, but joins an already crowded group at first base and DH in Toronto.

Those two spots have typically been occupied by Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Rowdy Tellez, with other hitters cycling through the DH spot at times. It’s not yet clear how the Blue Jays plan to deploy Vogelbach, but recapturing his 2019 form at the plate will be the first step.

The real surprise that comes with this deal is that the Blue Jays have made a trade for something other than pitching. “Run prevention” was the stated goal of Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins, with starting pitching depth as a priority, and that was back before the Blue Jays lost Matt Shoemaker to the injured list with shoulder inflammation and Trent Thornton left Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Rays early with elbow inflammation.

Acquiring a 1B/DH certainly doesn’t fit what was expected, but the Blue Jays will continue to explore those markets, which Atkins was optimistic about.

The Blue Jays have recently been using a three-man bench with no extra outfielder as they stockpile arms to get them through a particularly difficult stretch of the season. That would make Vogelbach a difficult fit, but additional roster moves are possible Monday, including a potential IL verdict on Thornton, before the Blue Jays wrap up their series on the road against the Rays.