March 14: Haudricourt tweets that the second opinion on Vogt’s shoulder revealed nothing new, confirming that he’s still suffering from a capsule strain in his throwing shoulder. That could mean he’s in line to open the season on the disabled list, which would temporarily solve the out-of-options logjam at backup catcher. Upon being cleared to play, Vogt would have a month’s time to get back up to speed in a rehab assignment, and the Brewers would have some additional time in-season to evaluate Bandy.
Haudricourt wonders in a followup tweet whether the Brewers may monitor the market for catching depth with Vogt on the shelf. Milwaukee’s catching depth thinned out a bit earlier this winter when the Orioles picked up Andrew Susac in a minor trade.
March 12: Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt, initially projected to be out for two to three weeks with a shoulder issue, experienced a setback when attempting to throw on the field today, tweets MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel adds that Vogt is headed for an MRI to further evaluate the root of his shoulder discomfort (Twitter links).
As both McCalvy and Haudricourt point out, the timing of the move puts both Vogt and the Brewers in a difficult spot. The well-respected veteran entered camp as the favorite to join Manny Pina in comprising Milwaukee’s primary catching tandem, but his status is now up in the air. Moreover, Vogt is out of minor league options and is on a non-guaranteed arbitration contract. The Brewers could still cut him between now and Opening Day and only owe Vogt 45 days of termination pay — or $750K of his $3.05MM arbitration salary.
[Related: Updated Milwaukee Brewers depth chart]
The injury is of interest not only because Vogt is out of minor league options but also due to the fact that fellow catcher Jett Bandy is out of options as well. It seemed like a long shot that both Vogt and Bandy would make the Opening Day roster (barring an injury to Pina), but Bandy looks less like the odd man out now that Vogt’s shoulder is proving to be a continued source of discomfort. Bandy hit just .207/.287/.349 through 188 MLB plate appearances in Milwaukee last year and hasn’t provided anything at the plate in 28 spring PAs (.222/.250/.296), but he nonetheless is likely to be the backup if Vogt proves unready for the opener.
Depending on the severity of Vogt’s shoulder, Milwaukee could cut him loose and try to bring him back to the organization on a new minor league contract. If he does ultimately make the roster, Vogt would be guaranteed the full $3.05MM to which he agreed in arbitration, even if he were to land on the disabled list to begin the year.