When Jason Vargas takes the mound for the New York Mets, it’s hard to believe they have a chance at winning. The team must move on from him before he costs them another game.
Many people were scratching their heads when the New York Mets signed Jason Vargas to a two-year deal at the beginning of 2018. Fast forward to 2019 and many people are still scratching their heads as Vargas continues to keep starting games despite his awful performances.
The Mets have said they will keep Vargas in the rotation despite his latest bad outing, even pushing him back a start as opposed to skipping it. Although the Mets have several options on how to handle this situation there is really only one that works.
The truth is if the Mets are serious about contending in 2019, then they must part ways with Vargas.
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Vargas has never really got it going in his time with the Amazins as after a late start in 2018 he had an ERA over 8 at one point in the season. Although he did have a decent second half for the team, it’s not enough to justify having him pitch every fifth day.
One big reason why they should part ways with the struggling veteran is that there really is no benefit to having him on the team. Even on Vargas’s best day, like his first start of the season, he is only going to give you 5 innings. The numbers against Vargas spike as he faces a lineup a third time through the order, which forces them to burn their bullpen. With the Mets bullpen already struggling this season, it’s not ideal for them to go out there and have to get more outs to close the game than usual.
Many can understand not wanting to part ways with Vargas last year as he would still be under contract for a whole other season. But now that he is only on the books for 2019 at about 8 million dollars, that is a more tolerable amount of money to eat on a contract. Plus General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen is not the one who signed Vargas, so there should be no personal ties to him.
There are plenty of options for the fifth starter spot that are upgrades over Vargas. Many fans have been screaming for the team to sign Dallas Keuchel, but even if the Mets don’t want to spend the money on Keuchel there’s plenty of other options.
James Shields and Edwin Jackson are two veteran pitchers still available on the free agent market that would certainly be open to signing a one year deal. Although these two may not be the most attractive names, their track record is better than Vargas. Not to mention former Washington National Gio Gonzalez was on the market all year before signing a minor league deal with the New York Yankees.
Gonzalez, however, has an opt-out in his contract if he does not get called up by the Yankees that is looming. The Yankees have lots of injuries but have opted to go with their younger starters instead. Gonzalez had a rough first outing in Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when he gave up 8 runs in 4 innings pitched, but rebounded nicely giving up only 2 runs in the next 11 innings pitched. The Mets would be wise to check in on Gonzalez should the Yankees pass on his name.
Of course, the Mets have in-house options to replace Vargas as well, such as Corey Oswalt or Chris Flexen. They might not be Keuchel, but many fans would agree they would rather watch those guys pitch and learn at the MLB level than watch Vargas be a guaranteed tough game for the Mets every fifth day.
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If the Mets really want to contend for the championship let alone the NL East, they need to say goodbye to Vargas.