Former Diamondbacks C Stephen Vogt’s rise to manager not a surprise in Arizona

Feb 26, 2024, 1:45 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm

GLENDALE —  Catcher Stephen Vogt knew he wanted to become a major league manager well before his playing days were over, even ahead of his Arizona Diamondbacks tenure in 2020-21.

One year removed from his 10-year playing career, he received that chance as the manager of the Cleveland Guardians, replacing Terry Francona this offseason.

Vogt’s time in Arizona was cut short by the 60-game 2020 season caused by COVID-19 and bargaining between the league and players association, but he still took something away from manager Torey Lovullo’s handling of the players.

“I kind of always wanted to do this, but 2018 when I was in Milwaukee is when it really hammered home like this is what I want to do,” Vogt told Arizona Sports at Cactus League Media Day last week. “Everywhere I played, I learned a lot. I learned a lot from Torey when I was here on the way he communicated with players, he treated players, so I really took a lot from that.”

Vogt caught Zac Gallen, Merril Kelly, Joe Mantiply and Kevin Ginkel during his tenure — he called Gallen one of the most detail-oriented people he’s been around.

His production on the field had dipped by that point as he entered his upper 30s, but he was a noted veteran clubhouse presence with a sense of humor.

“I was super thrilled and excited for him,” Lovullo said. “Everybody in that clubhouse, coaches included, were fans of his and it was a rapid progression but it didn’t surprise anybody. I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

“I actually predicted that when he was playing for me,” San Francisco Giants manager Bob Melvin told Arizona Sports. “Catchers do have a little bit of a leg up as the position that deals with the manager, the most of pitchers … He was always a real student of the game. He asked me questions all the time. I think he really aspired to manage at some point in time.”

Vogt played for Melvin with the Oakland Athletics from 2013-17.

Melvin said ending meetings can be awkward, so he would turn to Vogt for a couple of minutes to lighten the mood. Vogt was renowned for his Chris Farley impression, which Ginkel attested to in Arizona’s clubhouse.

“I think he’s just someone who a lot of players gravitated towards,” Ginkel told Arizona Sports. “He’s one of the more funny guys in the locker room. I’m not really surprised that he was able to get a job so quickly. I think he learned a lot from Torey.”

Now Vogt is in his first spring training in charge at Goodyear, and connecting with so many people on any given day he said has been an adjustment.

The manager is in the unique position of having played with and against so much of the league. The two-time All-Star is the youngest manager in the American League and second youngest in MLB at 39 years old, behind St. Louis Cardinals lead man Oliver Marmol (37).

“There’s a lot of smart people who have this job around the league, and I can’t even pretend to have their experience or knowledge,” Vogt said. “But I do think there’s an advantage to having familiarity with the league.”

Vogt was “pumped” watching Arizona’s World Series run, saying how fun it was to see the quick turnaround from what he experienced in 2021 before getting traded to the Atlanta Braves.

The new manager will face the Diamondbacks on Wednesday in Goodyear.

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