Current Roster Options
If the Mets were to replace Vargas as the fifth starter in the rotation, there are a few players on the current roster who could seamlessly fill his spot.
Moving someone who is currently on the team into the position would likely be the easiest option at this point, with Spring Training already underway. It would also be the preferred option for management, being that the team wouldn’t have to go out and spend money.
When it comes to shifting a player into the rotation, the first name that comes to mind is righty long-reliever Seth Lugo. Out of the entire bullpen, he has the most experience in a starting role and has seen his share of success in it.
Lugo came up to the Major Leagues in 2016, a year that brought season-ending injuries to Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz, and he exceeded expectations. He was an essential part of the late-season run to the National League Wild Card game.
He also impressed while pitching for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic that offseason, winning games against Venezuela and the United States.
Last season, he was moved to the bullpen and pitched well in his new role. He made 54 appearances and had a 2.66 ERA with 103 strikeouts. He made five spot starts on the season, including an impressive June win against the New York Yankees.
As it currently stands, Seth Lugo is the best candidate to move into the fifth spot of the rotation. This move would leave the Mets with only one lefty starter, but this is something the team has done in recent years.
Another righty that can take over Vargas’s role is 25-year-old Corey Oswalt. He didn’t have the greatest 2018 season, with an ERA of 5.85 and a negative WAR in 12 starts. However, he showed some signs of potential along the way.
Oswalt was the starting pitcher in the Mets’ 24-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, and he allowed only one hit over three innings in his next start. In his first spring training start of 2019, he went two innings allowing no runs, no hits and he struck out two batters.
He is young and obviously has to improve off of last year, but Corey Oswalt could be an option to replace Vargas if needed mid-season.