‘He was great to me’

New York Mets designated hitter Daniel Vogelbach (32) celebrates his solo home run against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the dugout with teammates during the fourth inning at Citi Field. / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Mets have certainly had a busy offseason. From losing out on Jacob deGrom to replace him with Justin Verlander — while also adding Jose Quintana and Kodai Senga — to re-signing Edwin Diaz and Brandon Nimmoowner Steve Cohen has made it clear that New York isn’t going anywhere.

One of the smaller moves the Mets also made this offseason was picking up Daniel Vogelbach‘s $1.5 million option to split duties at DH.

Speaking at a Mets’ charity event alongside Carlos CarrascoVogelbach, who was traded from the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to the trade deadline and played well during the final stretch of the 2022 season, slashing .255/.393/.436 with six home runs in 55 games in the orange and blue, reflected on his team’s offseason thus far.

“Obviously, I think that it shows that the Mets are all-in,” he said. “When you sign up to play sports, you sign up to win, that’s why you play. And it feels good to be a part of a team that wants to win. You got to line up and you still got to play and winning is hard, no matter what product you part out there, but when you feel like you have the support of ownership and a front office that’s trying to put out the best product out there to win as many games as possible, that’s what you want to be a part of.”

The lefty-swinging DH was also asked about the departure of deGrom.

And while Vogelbach understood that he didn’t play with the former Mets’ ace for long, that didn’t stop him from giving a glowing review of the right-hander.

“I was only here for a short amount of time, a lot of guys played with Jake for a long, long time and Jake was nothing — obviously on the field, it is what it is, everybody knows how good he is on the field — but as a human being he was great to me,” he said. “He was a great person, great teammate and I’m glad I got to play with him for the short amount of time.”

Vogelbach then added some insight on deGrom’s replacement, the reigning AL Cy Young award winner in Verlander.

“You replace (deGrom) with a guy that has been super, super successful, one of the best pitchers in the big leagues for a long time, I’m excited to get to play with (Verlander) now and any time you get to surround yourself with greats in this game, you try to learn.”

Prior to Vogelbach’s arrival, the DH position for the Mets was somewhat of a black hole, especially from the left side of the plate.

So, asked if he envisions a similar role this season as the one he had on the team last season, Vogelbach responded with a team-first attitude.

“Whatever they ask me to do I’m going to do and be a leader as I do it,” he said.

However, something that will be different for him this season compared to last season, as well as hitters all around the league, are the new shift rules that will be implemented in 2023.

Naturally, the notorious pull-hitting Vogelbach was asked about how he thinks the shift ban will affect him at the plate.

“We’ll see what happens, I feel like it will all even out…” he said. “Hopefully it raises my average and gives me some more hits and get on base because the name of the game is to get on base and score runs. But I think it just comes down to keep hitting the ball hard. Whatever happens, (I) can’t control it after that. There’s gonna be people playing all over the field. I’m sure they’ll find a new way around the shift rules. Teams will be playing people places you didn’t think.”

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