New York Mets need to end the Jason Vargas experiment


Mets starter Jason Vargas was visibly upset last Tuesday as he watched Ian Desmond’s third-inning solo home run land in the right-field seat of Coors Field.

Normally, a home run off the New York Mets pitching wouldn’t elicit this kind of reaction at the mile high ballpark. Especially since they’re pretty commonplace in Colorado. However, what made Jason Vargas‘ reaction special was that it came after the third home run he’d given up that inning.

This made it three consecutive batters with home runs. 4 runs on 3 hits and 11 total pitches. Vargas would face two more Colorado Rockies before leaving the game, his 9th start of the year and his 9th time failing to make it past 5 innings in a start.

The time for the New York Mets to end their relationship with Vargas is now before things get out of hand.

The Mets signed Jason Vargas to a 2-year, $16 million dollar deal in the 2018 offseason. The signing looked like a steal after Vargas put up some solid numbers with the Kansas City Royals. With an 18-11 record, 4.49 ERA, 1.330 WHIP and his very first All-Star selection in hand, Vargas left KC for his second foray into free agency.

The Mets gladly snapped him up. The aging 35-year-old pitcher had seemingly turned back the clock on his career and was looking to repeat his solid 2017. There’s only one problem.

That’s not Jason Vargas.

The real Jason Vargas is the one currently pitching for the Mets, and it’s only going to get worse. Using his 2017 stats as an example, Vargas has a problem maintaining his early season successes. After starting the season 12-3 with a 2.62 ERA, All-Star Vargas fell apart after his trip to Miami.M

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Before heading into the All-Star Break Vargas was breathing rarified air in most pitching categories. His 2.62 ERA was good enough for 5th in the league among starters, matching up with the likes of Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, and Dallas Keuchel. Everything was going right, and then the wheels fell off as they usually do.

The rise in Vargas’ ERA is alarming enough, but to send a pitcher out to the mound with a 1.595 WHIP and a .290 average against him is asking for trouble. However, that’s just what the Mets have done so far this season, but his numbers are worse. So far in 2018 Vargas owns an 8.60 ERA, a 1.832 WHIP, and opposing hitters are absolutely teeing off on the left-hander at a .340 clip.

As we creep closer to the halfway point of the season, the question becomes how much longer do we endure the pitch stylings of Jason Vargas? The answer is hopefully not much longer because things are not going to get better.

In his 13-year career, Vargas has always seen an uptick in his numbers and downgrade in performance in the back half of the season, and this year is already too rocky to salvage.

If Vargas’ numbers hold true, he’ll see a .014 uptick in opponent’s average, a 0.86 bump in ERA, a 0.112 increase in his WHIP and a 0.051 rise in an opposing hitter’s OPS. While those numbers may not seem high, when you add them to Vargas’ current stats, it’s a painful sight.

AVG – .358, ERA – 9.46, WHIP – 1.944, OPS – 1.068

Jason Vargas has been so bad on the mound this year, that every hitter he faces has the same numbers as Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, and José Altuve. That’s not someone I want taking the hill when a playoff run is on the line.

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Something has to be done. This old dog can’t learn new tricks, and each loss becomes another dagger in the hopes of a Mets resurgence down the line. The time for the Mets to end the Jason Vargas experiment is now before it’s too late.