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Stephen Vogt’s ‘World Series’ hope doesn’t bode well for Giants return



Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Are the Giants World Series contenders for next season?

The logical answer is no for a team coming off a 77-85 year. If Stephen Vogt agrees, he will look elsewhere.

The free-agent backup catcher and fan favorite said a priority this offseason will be finding a winner, which does not bode well for the Giants’ chances of re-signing him.

“I want to go somewhere where I have the opportunity to win a World Series,” Vogt, turning 35 this week, said on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM on Tuesday. “That’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I’m really looking forward to hopefully having opportunities to do that.”

With Joey Bart positioning himself to be a 2020 call-up and with Buster Posey’s greatest value being his defense at catcher, bringing back Vogt is not a top priority for the Giants. But he had a solid, bounce-back 2019 season, slashing .263/.314/.490 and playing both left field and first base as San Francisco found ways to get him into the lineup.

The Giants took a minor league flier on the two-time All-Star who was coming off major shoulder surgery that threatened to prematurely end his career. It didn’t, and Vogt rose to the majors in May, sticking as a contributor the rest of the season.

Vogt called this offseason, as compared with last’s, “a complete 180.”

“Going into this year I feel like I’ve really reestablished myself as someone who can be a backup catcher, utility player, platoon-type player that can still hit and play good defense,” said the veteran, who made anointing youngsters into the majors his mission.

The biggest drawback for interested teams will be his poor defense at catcher, where an arm fresh off surgery did not impress and his pop time was the slowest in baseball.

“You look at my metrics, obviously they’re never great. The metrics are not kind to me as a defensive catcher,” said Vogt, who will be compared with the likes of Robinson Chirinos, Jason Castro, Travis d’Arnaud, Russell Martin and Austin Romine as free-agent catchers. “I do feel like I had some of my best catching this year as far as pitch calling and blocking. I think the arm strength is going to come back. I really feel like this is a different year because I feel like I established myself as probably one of the better backup catchers on the market.”