Committing two years and $16 million to Vargas seems insane when looking at free agent pitchers like Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb, who could probably have been signed for the same yearly wage of $8 million. His command was superb during the first half of the season, but when that command failed him in the second half, he was punished accordingly by hitters trained to prey off poorly located off-speed pitches.
Vargas, who made the All-Star team a year ago, was 18-11 with a 4.16 ERA but suffered a noticeable drop after the break. The Mets needed insurance for what was an extremely injury-prone rotation in 2017, and it would appear that Vargas does not provide that insurance. The jury is still out on if this will end up being a steal for the Mets or not, but as of now, it looks to be a fair deal for both sides. He also would be reunited with new pitching coach Dave Eiland, who held the same job in Kansas City, where Vargas compiled a 34-23 record over the past four years.
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Another person familiar with the contract said it includes an $8 million club option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout, and Vargas can earn up to $1.5 million each year in performance bonuses.
Vargas was injured about midway through the 2015 season and did not return until over a year later, which explains his limited starts in the 2015 and 2016 seasons. After spending four straight seasons with the Royals, Vargas should slide into the five-spot as the only southpaw in the Mets' rotation.
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Vargas spent time in the Mets organization from 2007 after being traded from Marlins.
Vargas would give the Mets another accomplished starter, this one a soft-tossing lefty to go with all their power arms.
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On paper, Jason Vargas appears to fill that need. He'll be one of those guys who will be Forever Royal, even if he wasn't directly a part of that World Series team.