McDonald: With Matt Harvey Out Of Town, Is Jason Vargas Now On The Clock?

Now that the Matt Harvey circus left town, it’s time to focus on the other black hole in the rotation.

We are looking at you Jason Vargas.

After missing the first month of the season with a broken non-pitching hand, Vargas has been terrible in his three starts as a Met.

Nine runs given up in San Diego. Six against the Braves at Citi Field and the four he gave up last night in Cincinnati.

Hey, at least he’s improving right?

“It’s definitely frustrating putting the team in a hole like that,” Vargas said to reporters in Cincinnati after the Reds 7-2 win. “When you do that you feel like you let the guys out there down early in the game and it’s tough for them to battle back.”

Since he joined the rotation, the Mets are 2-8 and Vargas is 0-3.

Talk about a dumpster fire.

Now, Vargas has some money in the bank, since he’s a favorite of pitching coach Dave Eiland and will get some leeway, since he signed a 2-year $16 million contract in spring training, which looked smart at the time, but now makes the Jason Bay deal look like a steal.

But how long do the Mets give the 35 year-old before looking for other options? Well, by getting rid of Harvey, the Mets are somewhat thin in rotation options. Sure, they can move Seth Lugo in the rotation, but that hurts the bullpen and minor league options like Corey Oswalt and P.J. Conlon are no sure things, especially of you expect to contend this season.

So, Vargas it is. You hope Eiland will find something with the lefty, which will being back the first half of 2017 form when he went 12-3 with a 2.62 ERA on his way to 18 wins last year. But more concerning was the 6-8 with a 6.38 ERA he had in the second half.

Right now, we are seeing the latter Vargas, which you wonder if that’s more the norm.

Ironically, Vargas was a Met in 2007 and stunk up the joint in two starts to the tune of a 12.19 ERA. So maybe the blue and orange is his Kryptonite and he just can’t pitch here.

Bottom line is that the he will be in the rotation for a bit. Vargas will get some room to improve, because the Mets are on the hook for so much money and the options are so thin right now.

However, if things don’t improve by the end of May, which is about four starts, a decision needs to be made.

Manager Mickey Callaway and Eiland have shown the Mets are a meritocracy by the way the handled Harvey. Now they may have to make a decision with a guy they actually like and in Eiland’s case have a history working with.

That decision isn’t coming immediately, but it will come soon.

Vargas now is on the clock.  

About the Author

Joe McDonald

Joe McDonald is the founder and former publisher of NY Sports Day. After selling to i15Media in 2020, he serves as the Editor-in-Chief and responsible for the editorial side of the publication. In the past, Joe was the managing editor of NY Sportscene magazine and assistant editor of Mets Inside Pitch. He has covered the Mets since 2004.

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