New York Mets teammates Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas have been better in 2019 than they were in 2018. Unfortunately, their production is far too little, far too late.
To the surprise of many, Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas have actually not been so absolutely unplayable like they were in 2018. The pair of New York Mets free agents brought in during Sandy Alderson’s final winter as the general manager stunk up the joint last year. Each also spent significant time on the sidelines battling through injury, which not many fans seemed to even mind.
This season has been different for both at least in terms of production. Both did spend time on the newly remarketed injured list. When healthy, however, they haven’t been as abominable.
Frazier is playing third base nearly every day. Even with a batting average battling to stay above .250 and an OBP doing its best to slink over .300, these numbers better than what he produced last year. Frazier slashed just .213/.303/.390 for the 2018 Mets. His OBP and slugging percentage are about the same with a noticeable rise in batting average. The only complaint I have here is how he’s not hitting with much power at all or drawing walks. Isn’t this a guy who was supposed to smash 25 dingers in his sleep?
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Over on the mound, Vargas has made 9 starts and given the Mets a 1-3 record with a 4.46 ERA. Again, these are ugly numbers for an average pitcher. Coming from a guy who had one of the National League’s worst ERAs in 2018 at 5.77, it’s borderline miraculous.
Their production does come at a cost. Other than financial limitations it creates, we’re not getting a chance to see better players at these positions. The Mets aren’t allowing J.D. Davis to continue his journey as a potential future third baseman on this team. As far as the fifth starter goes, I’m not sure there’s anyone within the organization who could compete with Vargas, but his existence did eliminate their chance at upgrading over the winter.
On the right team, these two could work. Frazier is a tremendous part-time player who can play third base well and fill in at first base as needed. A competitive team where he is projected to get 300 at-bats or so would be a great match.
Similarly, Vargas isn’t a horrendous option on an American League team with an awesome bullpen. He’s not going to go more than 5 innings often. Considering the state of the Mets’ bullpen in 2019, this is a disaster waiting to happen each and every night he starts a game.
The production Frazier and Vargas have offered the Mets this year is too little, too little. I’ve read the spin on Frazier and how productive his bat has been over the past few weeks. Let’s not forget, though, how his bad 2018 campaign is a major reason why they brought Jed Lowrie in.
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Neither player has done enough this year to make up for the shortcomings from last season. Both are still below-average and not about to win over any fans.