The New York Mets and former Kansas City Royal Jason Vargas have agreed to terms on a two-year $16 Million deal that reportedly includes incentives. The deal also includes an option for 2020. As many of these deals of late have been, the arrangement is pending a physical.
Jason Vargas led the American League in wins in 2017 with an 18-11 win-loss record while being elected to his first career All-Star Game. In 32 games and 179.2 innings pitched, Vargas, posted a 4.16 ERA with 134 strikeouts, a 108 ERA+ (100 is league average), and a 3.8 WAR. Before becoming the first Royals’ pitcher to win 18 games since Kevin Appier, Vargas played in parts of 11 Major League seasons with the Marlins, Mets, Mariners, Angels, and Royals.
In the first half of the 2017 season, Jason Vargas was masterful with a 12-3 win-loss record and a 2.62 ERA. Unfortunately, this success would not last long and Vargas, much like most marathon runners, hit a major wall and had a 6-8 record with a 6.38 ERA from mid-July through the end of the season. While I personally do not believe that a pitcher’s record should be taken any more seriously than a stolen base in the 8th inning of a blowout, a 6.38 ERA is impossible to ignore.
As many baseball fans are aware, free agent signings have not exactly been plentiful this offseason, which is why teams like the Mets have taken advantage of the decreasing prices of free agents and are vastly improving their teams. The Mets have signed Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier this offseason and have now added an All-Star starter to their offseason campaign.
Despite Vargas’ 2017 second-half collapse, the Mets have added another quality starter to their already stacked pitching rotation and will be right back in the running for the NL Wild Card Game. While expectations will not be high for Vargas in 2018 after his second-half meltdown, the Mets just received an All-Star pitcher for a very reasonable price. As for Vargas, he will have to prove that he is worthy of pitching in the stacked Mets rotation and that his second-half misfortune in 2017 was a fluke.