Pittsburgh Pirates: Ryan Vogelsong Officially Retires

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

News: Former Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher, twice removed, Ryan Vogelsong has announced that he is officially retiring from Major League Baseball.

Long time San Francisco Giants and Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong decided to hang up the cleats today.  The right-handed starting pitcher pitched in 12 major league seasons in his career, although he did spend three years playing in Japan.  All told, Vogelsong pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in parts of six seasons, though he had far more success in his six seasons for the San Francisco Giants.

The Giants were the team that gave Vogelsong a chance.  He pitched for the Bucs from 2003-06 and struggled to find consistency.  This is when he decided to take up professional ball across the Pacific.  While in Japan, Vogelsong reinvented himself as a pitcher by learning how to pitch to contact, mainly using a two seam fastball.  Due to his success over there, the Giants felt he was worth a flier.

The move worked out big time for Vogelsong.  In 2011, his first season back in Major League Baseball, Vogey earned an all-star nod.  He pitched to a 13-7 record and posted a 2.71 earned run average. The next year was an even bigger step forward for him.  He put together another solid season, going 14-9 with a 3.37 earned run average.  However, the best part for him was that he was part of the Giants World Series winner.  After a rough 2013, Vogelsong bounced back to have a solid 2014, and he once again earned another ring with the Giants.

The same cannot be said for his time as a Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher. Vogelsong debuted for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2001 at the age of 23.  He made two starts for them and only got through six innings while giving up eight earned runs.  The Bucs kept him down in the minors for the 2002 season and most of the 2003 season.  He did eventually make six appearances, including five starts, in 2003 and pitched to a 6.55 ERA.

Finally, the Pirates gave Vogelsong a legitimate shot in the rotation during the 2004 season. His results were not very good.  He made 26 starts and 31 total appearances.  His ERA remained escalated over 6.00 in his 133 innings pitched that year.  His best year came in 2005 when the Pittsburgh Pirates decided to use him strictly out of the bullpen.  He made 41 appearances and collected 81.1 innings while recording an ERA of 4.43.  The next season Vogelsong saw his ERA balloon back up over 6.00, and the Bucs decided after just 38 innings that it was time to cut ties.

Of course, the Bucs decided to have a reunion with Vogelsong for the 2016 season.  A move that many considered to be a “typical Pittsburgh Pirates move.”  At this point, Vogelsong had nothing left.  He was coming off a season with the Giants that saw his ERA climb to almost 5.00 and he was pulled from the rotation.  The Bucs needed to fill a backend of the rotation spot and decided to try to get one more solid year out of the aging, diminishing veteran.  Well, it did not work.  Early in the season, Vogey was struck in the face with a pitch which put him on the disabled list.  When he finally returned things did not go well.  After 14 starts and 24 appearances, the then 38-year-old posted a 4.81 ERA.  The Bucs once again decided it was time to cut ties with him.

Next: Bucs call up 6 players

Vogelsong tried to catch on again this year.  He signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins this past offseason, but he did not make the team out of Spring Training.  He held on during the season to see if a team would be in a need for starter, but the call never came.  The two-time World Series winner will retire as a member of the San Francisco Giants.