Mets fans are actually arguing in favor of Jason Vargas over Gio Gonzalez
Some New York Mets fans appear to believe Jason Vargas is better than free agent Gio Gonzalez. Where is this coming from?
In a side-by-side comparison, I thought for sure the majority of New York Mets fans would have sided with Gio Gonzalez over Jason Vargas. Vargas was unwatchable for most of 2018 while Gonzalez has routinely beat up on the Mets. An impartial verdict alone should have swayed everyone to one side.
However, over the last week or so, I’ve seen plenty of people argue in favor of Vargas over Gonzalez. Many have even gone as far to declare Vargas the better pitcher. A lot of it was in response to my article about why Vargas is preventing the Mets from signing Gonzalez.
On no planet is this a reality. Their career totals don’t really matter so I won’t go into how Gonzalez has an ERA about half a run lower or how he has 35 more wins with a far greater winning percentage. He has managed to stay healthy, is a few years younger, and has a lot of other things making him more appealing. If not for some luck on Vargas’ side in 2017 when he won 18 games, he’d be a below .500 pitcher.
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The lowest ERA of Vargas’ career in a year where he started at least 5 games is 3.71. Gonzalez’s career total is lower than this.
Those on the Vargas Bandwagon have cited the second-half of 2018 as their reasoning for why their boy is better than Gonzalez. Granted, Gonzalez was horrific in August of 2018. A 1-4 record and 7.47 ERA capped off an otherwise successful career with the Washington Nationals which included 10+ wins in every season he was there.
When he joined the Milwaukee Brewers for the final month of the regular season, Gonzalez was amazing. He went 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA in his five regular season starts. Vargas pitched well for the Mets in some meaningless games, going 2-1 with a 3.27 ERA. I won’t take that away from Vargas. He was good, but Gonzalez was better.
It’s unfair to say Vargas was better than Gonzalez in the second half. I don’t see why that even matters. Vargas was far worse in the first half than Gonzalez was after the All-Star Game. If your argument is based on how someone finished, his five starts for Milwaukee need to count more than his rough outings with the Nationals that took place prior.
I believe the result of Mets fans favoring Vargas over Gonzalez is because of the postseason. Gonzalez started two games for the Brewers and gave up 2 runs in 3 innings of work. This is hardly a large enough sample to say he struggled down the stretch. It matters, yes. It’s ridiculous to say this makes Vargas the better pitcher.
The same reason some are against Gonzalez and in favor of Vargas is the same reason why Yasmani Grandal seemed like a bad idea. Grandal shriveled up in the postseason where non-Los Angeles Dodgers fans got to see him. His regular season accomplishments didn’t matter. His bad offense and even worse defense played a larger role in fans creating an opinion.
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There’s a great argument to make that the Mets shouldn’t target Gonzalez. To blatantly say he’s the better of the two lefties is wrong in every which way possible.