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Mets Sign Jason Vargas to Shore Up Rotation

The Mets have added Jason Vargas on a two-year deal with a possible third option year. The Mets needed to make this move with injury issues up and down their starting staff.

The 35-year-old lefty was a fantasy bargain last season when he stumbled to 18 wins despite only a 4.16 ERA and 6.7 K/9. He’s a flyball pitcher, which can lead to an above average number of home runs (1.1 HR/9 on career) but a low BABIP (.284). The lower-than-normal BABIP, which was helped the past few seasons by the Royals’ plus outfield defense, has allowed him to post an ERA under both his FIP and xFIP for six straight seasons. With an 86 mph fastball, he needs this trait to stay in the league.

Vargas is effectively a two-pitch pitcher. Besides his flyball-inducing fastball, he has an elite changeup (20% SwStr%) to keep himself relevant. He mixes in a bad curveball to possibly keep hitters off balance.

As for a 2018 projection, I think Vargas will perform similarly to 2017. His performance could come down depending on who the Mets have in the outfield on days that he pitches. When it’s Vargas time to start, Jay Bruce might need to “take a break.”

It’s tough to say whose rotation spot Vargas will take, with Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, Robert Gsellman, and Steven Matz all spending time on the DL last season. I think Vargas slots in as the No. 3 starter behind deGrom and Syndergaard. If anyone misses out, it may be Seth Lugo, who was needed as a fill-in last season with all of the other injuries.

Previous Hot Stove Analysis

Eduardo Nunez Inks Deal with Red Sox

Blue Jays Sign Jaime Garcia

Orioles Sign Andrew Cashner

Cardinals Add Bud Norris to Crowded Bullpen

Cubs Get Their Ace, Sign Yu Darvish

Rangers Add Seung Hwan Oh to Bullpen

Mets Add Todd Frazier on Two-Year Deal

Diamondbacks Sign Alex Avila

Royals and Athletics Swap Parts

Brewers Sign Lorenzo Cain

Miami Sends Christian Yelich to Brewers

Giants Sign Austin Jackson

Blue Jays Acquire Randal Grichuk

Blue Jays Sign Curtis Granderson

Giants Trade for Andrew McCutchen

Astros Acquire Gerrit Cole

Twins Grab Their Closer, Sign Addison Reed

Mets Bring Back Jay Bruce on Three-Year Deal

Toronto Acquires Yangervis Solarte from San Diego

Royals, Dodgers, and White Sox Complete Three-Way Trade

Rockies Fill Closer Vacancy with Wade Davis

Arizona Adds Bullpen Depth with Yoshihisa Hirano

Indians Fill First-Base Void with Yonder Alonso

Brewers Bolster Rotation with Jhoulys Chacin

Orioles Lose Zach Britton, Brad Brach Likely Closer

Giants Add Evan Longoria, Rays Create a Mess

Red Sox Bring Back Mitch Moreland

CC Sabathia Returns to Yankees

Dodgers-Braves Make Five-Player Trade

Angels in the Infield: Zack Cozart Signs with Los Angeles

Phillies Ink Carlos Santana to Three-Year Deal

Everyone’s Signing Relievers, But Who Will Close?

Angels Trade for Ian Kinsler

Cardinals Finally Get Their Marlins Outfielder

Cubs and Twins Gamble on Smyly and Pineda

Chase Headley Gets Dumped on Padres

Cubs and Cardinals Add Potential Closers

Giancarlo Stanton Joins Yankees

Rockies Sign Chris Iannetta

Angels Land Shohei Ohtani

Tigers Sign Mike Fiers

Dee Gordon Traded to Mariners

Cubs Sign Tyler Chatwood

Rangers Sign Mike Minor

Wellington Castillo Inks Deal with White Sox

Potential Closers Traded: Boxberger and Johnson

Doug Fister Signs with Rangers

Ryon Healy Traded to Mariners


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