Media members including Paul Hoynes reported that 39 year-old former MLB catcher and current bullpen and quality control coach with the Seattle Mariners Stephen Vogt has been hired as the 45th manager of the Cleveland Guardians franchise and the Guardians just announced it via Twitter:
Jeff Passan was the first to report that Vogt was a “serious candidate” for the Guardians’ job. Passan is usually locked in to Guardians’ news. Eric Kratz followed up on the Foul Territory YouTube channel, saying that Vogt had texted him very excited about the job (click the video below to see the relevant clip):
Longtime catcher and friend of @ErikKratz31 Stephen Vogt has emerged as a candidate for the @CleGuardians managerial vacancy— Foul Territory (@FoulTerritoryTV) October 23, 2023
(via @JeffPassan)#FTLive reacts
▶️ https://t.co/SDiTltfyDW pic.twitter.com/2nfa3ILpQN
We then had a couple week period of flirtation by the Guardians with Craig Counsell of the Milwaukee Brewers. Understandably, the Guardians and many other teams were interested in adding the reliability of an established manager, but it appears Counsell has decided to go elsewhere, at least not to Cleveland. Interestingly, during his time with the Brewers, Vogt intentionally spent time learning from Counsell about managing, and did so with Bob Melvin in Oakland, as well. Vogt was a name mentioned in connection with the Giants job and with the Brewers potential opening should Counsell decide to move on, so the Guardians were certainly not the only team who saw the potential in him for the role of leading a professional baseball team.
Eno Sarris has had a good relationship with Stephen Vogt over the years, with an interview with him on FanGraphs and on the Athletic’s Rates and Barrels podcast. His favorite baseball memory is winning a World Series title with Atlanta, which, hey, we’d love you to add a new one of those favorite memories here, Stephen. He has shared thoughts on why he thinks he would be a good manager, as in this article by Brodie Brazil of NBCSports:
“I feel like I can relate to every player in a clubhouse. I’ve been one of the best players in the American League, I’ve been one of the worst players in the American League. I’ve been injured, released, traded. You name it. So no matter who walks in the doors of the clubhouse, I can relate to them, and that’s something that could really help when managing a team.
Vogt may stand out in your mind for having hit home run in his last at-bat with the Oakland A’s, after being announced for the at-bat by his children (Current Guardians’ outfielder Ramon Laureano was on this team, also). Vogt was absolutely beloved by A’s fans and, as a long-time Athletic, he is familiar with the in’s and out’s of a small market team (and “frugal” ownership). You can hear him talk about his coaching role with the Mariners last season here. Vogt was also lauded for his excellent sense of humor by Duane Kuiper. Vogt routinely did comedic sketches for the A’s in pregame segments where he would play a beleagured NBA ref or even Chris Farley, and I am in full support of him continuing his comedic career in Cleveland. You cannot underestimate the power of keeping a team and an organization loose by maintaining an ability to laugh at yourself.
Vogt also can sing a little bit, and specializes in Disney tunes. You gotta love it.
Jolly Olive offered a great summary of the underdog story of Stephen Vogt’s career in the video below, you should REALLY watch:
Vogt also has an incredibly detailed Wikipedia page, if you’d like more information about him. He and his wife, Alyssa, have three children, daughter Payton (12), and sons Clark (9) and Bennet (7).
Do we know if Vogt will be a good manager? No. But, hey, it’s fun to dream about why he MIGHT be. I am very excited to see what he can do with the Guardians and rooting for him to bring us the World Series title for which we have all been dreaming the past 75 years. I chose a picture of Vogt hitting a home run in his last professional at-bat because I think of this hire as a home run swing by the Guardians, ironically. Rather than going with a relatively safe option like Andy Green or even Carlos Mendoza, they are hiring a young, up-and-comer with insane intangibles.
We’ve been begging for more slugging on the field. Here’s hoping this is a round-tripper off the field. Welcome to Cleveland, Stephen Vogt!