SAN FRANCISCO -- It's rare for a player to come to a new team, serve as a backup and leave at the end of September with such a high approval rating that team employees and fans openly joke about him becoming their next manager. That's the kind of impact Stephen Vogt had in 2019.
Vogt played 99 games for the Giants but agreed to a one-year deal with the rival Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday with a vesting option for a second year. Vogt was interested in returning and the Giants liked his presence alongside Buster Posey, but he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he chose the Diamondbacks over the Giants and one other suitor.
Vogt will be missed by the fan base but also in the clubhouse, where he had a locker alongside Brandon Crawford and a few feet from Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Vogt thanked his teammates in a message posted to Twitter on Tuesday night, along with many others:
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This is the second consecutive offseason that the Giants are losing a popular backup catcher. Nick Hundley was a similar player before leaving last offseason. Giants fans won't have to wait long to get a chance to show appreciation for Vogt. The Diamondbacks visit on the season's first homestand.
SAN FRANCISCO -- There was a poorly-kept secret as Bruce Bochy marched toward his final game as manager of the Giants: Bochy was going to manage again in 2020. This week, it became official.
The France Baseball Association announced that Bochy will manage Team France in the World Baseball Classic qualifier taking place in Tucson, Arizona from March 22-27. France will be competing with Germany, Spain and others to get a spot in the 2021 WBC.
Bochy had met with the association during the summer but had to iron out some details after the season.
Didier Seminet, the president of the French federation, said he was "proud to announce Bruce Bochy" as manager and noted that Bochy, born in Landes de Bussac, has a "special relationship" with the country.
"We are very honored and excited that he wishes to seize this opportunity to help the development of French baseball," Seminet said in a statement.
This is something Bochy has been looking forward to, and he recently said that he's excited about making it a family affair. His brother, Joe, will be on the coaching staff.
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Brett Bochy, a former Giants prospect who pitched for his father at the big league level, will be on the pitching staff. When Brett visited Oracle Park for his father's final series as manager, he said he already was working out in preparation for returning to the mound.
Ron Wotus, a third base coach for Gabe Kapler next season, is also expected to be on the staff.
The Giants essentially bought veteran infielder Zack Cozart's contract from the Angels on Tuesday to add a talented young prospect.
San Francisco acquired Cozart and middle infield prospect Will Wilson from the Angels for a player to be named later or cash. The Giants are taking on all of Cozart's $12.67 million contract for the 2020 season. Cozart will become a free agent in 2021. The 34-year-old, who has hit just .190 with five home runs the last two seasons, was an All-Star when healthy in 2017, but Wilson is the real prize of the deal.
Wilson was selected No. 15 overall by the Angels in the 2019 MLB Draft. He immediately became a top-10 Giants prospect after the trade. MLB Pipeline ranks him No. 10 overall in the team's farm system, and FanGraphs has him even higher.
The 21-year-old hit .275 with a .768 OPS and five home runs in 46 games at rookie ball in his debut season. He played 28 games at shortstop and 13 at second base. President of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi said Wilson will play both positions in the minor leagues, and the front office believes he will stick as a middle infielder.
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Wilson was a consensus All-American as a junior at NC State, and was voted ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He hit .352 with nine homers and a 1.089 OPS in his final season for the Wolfpack.
Prior to being traded to the Giants, Wilson was ranked as the Angels' No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He comes in lower with San Francisco, showing how much the Giants' farm system is on the rise with top prospects like Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos, Marco Luciano and others.