Position: Starting Pitcher
Bats: Left- Throws: Left
Born: February 2, 1983 (Age 34)
Stats: 32 GS, 179 2/3 IP, 18-11 Record, 4.12 ERA, 1.330 WHIP, .264 AVG, 4.67 FIP, 1.4 HR/9, 2.9 BB/9, 134 SO, 3.8 WAR
Yes, Jason Vargas is already a former Met, but he was nowhere near the pitcher he is now back in 2007 as a spot-starter. In his two appearances back in 2007, he allowed 14 runs in only 10 1/3 innings of work after starting his career with the Florida Marlins in 2005.
After leaving the Mets, Vargas proved to be one of the more durable pitchers in baseball while making 30+ starts four of five seasons between 2010 and 2014. During that stretch, his ERA managed to range between 3.71 and 4.25 during his three-year stint with the Seattle Mariners, one year stint with the Los Angeles Angels, and the first year of his tenure with the Kansas City Royals.
However, in 2015 his durability took a hit when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the year after starting off 5-2 with a 3.98 ERA.
As a result, he would not return until the middle of September in 2016 in which he would only make three appearances.
2017 was a tale of two halves for Vargas. In the first half, Vargas looked like a Cy Young Award candidate on the mound posting a 12-3 record and a 2.62 ERA on his way to his first All-Star appearance in his career.
However, the narrative changed in the second half of the season and he struggled over the last two and half months with a 6-8 record and 6.38 ERA. Opposing batters hit .292 off Vargas in the second half compared to the .244 average they hit off him beforehand.
Vargas is likely looking at a deal in the one-to-two year range at around $8 million per season. While he has the value of being an innings eater, he will be 35 on Opening Day next season which will scare many teams away from giving him any deal longer than two years. Jon Heyman of the FanRag Sports Network believes Vargas will receive a two-year contract in the $24 million dollar range while the expert he includes in the article sees Vargas only managing to get $14 million over two years.
Vargas would be a very cost affordable innings eater for the Mets to be able to acquire. While he has had injury concerns in the past, he has proven to be able to overcome them and be effective. His second-half flounder should manage to keep the cost of his next contract in the Mets price range.
For a team that lacks quality innings eaters, Vargas could add stability to the rotation which is much needed. If the Mets were to sign Vargas, the rotation would likely feature Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, and Vargas. After that, if Steven Matz is healthy he would likely join them. In terms of the fifth spot in the rotation, the Mets would be able to get their pick from Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and Seth Lugo.