Feb. 19: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Vargas will earn $6MM in 2018 and $8MM in 2019. The option year is valued at $8MM and comes with a $2MM buyout.
Feb. 18: The deal is official, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com tweets. Along with the previously reported incentives, it includes a $250K assignment bonus if the Mets trade Vargas, according to Heyman (Twitter link). To make room for Vargas, the Mets placed infielder T.J. Rivera on the 60-day DL. Rivera underwent Tommy John surgery last September.
Feb. 16, 1:20pm: Heyman tweets that Vargas will earn an additional $250K for reaching 160, 170, 180, 190, 200 and 210 innings in each season of the deal.
10:15am: The option year is worth an additional $8MM, DiComo reports (on Twitter).
9:55am: Puma tweets that Vargas’ contract also contains an option for a third year. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com tweets that Vargas will be guaranteed $16MM. Heyman adds that Vargas’ deal also contains incentives that will allow him to earn an additional $1.5MM per season, based on his innings totals.
9:44am: The Mets are in agreement with free-agent lefty Jason Vargas, pending a physical, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). It’s a two-year deal, according to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (Twitter link). Mike Puma of the New York Post had recently reported that the Mets were maintaining “solid interest” in Vargas, who is represented by CAA Baseball.
Vargas, who turned 35 two weeks ago, will add some much-needed stability to a Mets rotation that has been devastated by injuries in recent seasons. Last year alone, the Mets saw Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman all combine to spend significant time on the disabled list, with only Jacob deGrom remaining healthy to shoulder a full season’s workload.
The 2017 season, meanwhile, served as a platform for the veteran Vargas to prove that he was healthy after Tommy John surgery wiped out most of his 2015-16 campaigns. It was a rather dichotomous season for Vargas, who surged to a 2.22 ERA through his first 101 innings of the season, earning a deserved All-Star berth in the process. Vargas’ early success was buoyed by an unsustainable 86 percent strand rate, however, and that figure cratered over the final three months as his control took a turn for the worse. After that sparkling 2.22 ERA through the end of June, Vargas limped to a 6.66 ERA in his final 16 starts.
It’s possible, of course, that some fatigue in his first full year back from Tommy John surgery impacted Vargas. Control has never been an issue for him, after all, but he nonetheless averaged nearly four walks per nine innings pitched over the final three months of the season. Overall, though, the results on the year were solid. Vargas totaled a 4.16 ERA while averaging 6.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9 and 1.4 HR/9 with a 40.3 percent ground-ball rate.
That body of work lines up fairly closely to the 4.01 ERA he turned in over 1082 2/3 innings from 2009-15 — the stretch from which he established himself as a viable Major League starter up until he underwent Tommy John surgery as a member of the Royals.
While the yearly breakdown of the contract remains unclear, the addition of Vargas should push the Mets’ payroll north of the $150MM mark for the second consecutive season, though that number includes David Wright’s $20MM salary, 75 percent of which is covered by insurance should the oft-injured former star head back to the 60-day DL. Vargas’ two-year deal pushes the team’s 2019 commitments well beyond $90MM more than a year in advance as well (though, again, 75 percent of Wright’s $15MM salary next season is covered by insurance).
This will mark the second stint with the Mets for Vargas, who was traded to New York from Miami in the 2006 deal that sent Matt Lindstrom to the Marlins. Vargas only pitched 10 1/3 innings in the Majors with the Mets the first time around and was ultimately traded to the Mariners in the 2008, three-team J.J. Putz swap. He’ll be reunited with former Royals pitching coach in Queens, giving him some added familiarity as he re-acclimates to his new surroundings.
For the Mets, the Vargas addition is somewhat surprisingly the third multi-year free-agent pickup that has transpired after reports suggesting that the team had limited remaining funds. After signing Anthony Swarzak to a two-year, $14MM deal back in December, the Mets have now added Jay Bruce (three years, $39MM), Todd Frazier (two years, $17MM) and Vargas, in addition to more modest one-year commitments for Jose Reyes ($2MM) and Adrian Gonzalez ($545K).
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
This is a solid move hope it works out for them.
Breaking news. Mets need to trade some young arms.
More breaking news. Hot stove heating up?
Not Lynn but a good move.Now how about Watson for the pen ?
Watson already signed with the Giants a few days ago!
Mets still have a good pitching staff.
Love the move, gives the Mets depth and innings while hopefully rotating the others not named degrom or Noah from rotation to bullpen go keep them from the DL
Thank you from an Orioles fan.
As an O’s fan I would have preferred him over Cashner. Cashner feels like a repeat of the old Adam Eaton (the pitcher) days.
You’d rather have 6.66 era over 16 starts lol admit it, your just never happy period
Yeah, let’s just throw out the 2.22 era in his first 16 starts. If you consider he was coming off what was almost a season and a half layoff (half of 2015 and all but 3 starts in 2016) from the first serious injury of his career, it’s very reasonable to think he would hit a wall in the middle of the season. He threw at least 187 innings in 4 of the 5 seasons before the injury and almost 180 last year.
VArgas is older and threw a terrible 2nd half. He got as much as cashner if things go wrong. Cashner can make a good deal more if he pans out though. I’m surprised by the cost uncertainty we now have with that contract though. Could be 16 million over 2 years or 41 over 3. Probably somewhere in between. Not sure losing out on vargas will actually be a loss. There’s other reclamation projects we could get cheaper.
Vargas is an extreme flyballer. Ok for Citi Field, Camden and the rest of the parks in the AL East would have ate Vargas up. Cashner’s peripherals scream massive regression but at least he throws a lot of ground balls.
Very smart move.
Not really. Its only a smart move when you look at it in a vacuum. Vargas vs nobody = smart move. But the Mes were said to also be pursuing Jaime Garcia, who is four years younger and wound up signing for a shorter commitment and fewer total dollars. So please explain how this is a “smart move”, when compared with that one.
I’ll give the Mets credit for actually opening up the purse a bit and taking advantage of the slow offseason. They should’ve done more but this is still better than I was expecting out of the Wilpons.
Another Presidents’ Day sale. Typical Mets’ move. Looks good on paper til tuneeqlities
Til the realities set in and then it’s like Mr Bill said (after being hit by Sluggo), “Oh No”.
You pay more time bashing the Mets than paying attention to what’s happening in the Bronx Zoo
He is so annoying right?! Try to look past it but he appears everywhere. Lots of time on his hand!
Besides the cubs, they’ve probably spent the most this offseason and been the most busy, and this guy still trolls
Hey Tank and Mr Met:
You guys have too much time on your hands as you sip your Canadian Club and ginger ale during the early bird at your favorite seafood restaurant.
Each of you has many multiples of postings here as you share your “expert advice” on EVERYTHING”.
Together you take Sabermetrics to a new level of mediocrity.
Weigh in on your own posts as these are really lightweight.
The Mets’ franchise speaks for itself. It’s a franchise in the largest market in the country that operates with a small market guideline created by owners that enjoy pocketing their money.
They make believe the team will compete and seldom avoid being a laughing stock of the sport.
Supporters like you keep the ownership on life support. Either you lack the ability to accept reality or are posting on behalf of friends of the Wilpon family.
Yeah man, he needs to get a life. It’s pretty sad.
Oh Mr. Bill, you are back. It’s the time of year where the Wilpon’s jade you fooled into thinking this will be the year, eventually winning a WS. Once June hits you will realize that all of these “Dollar Store” moves suffered you into buying tickets for a losing club.
So without posting in such a long time eventually, were you having a hard time registering here as “finallygaveuponlosingteam”? It’s a little bit long, however you previously had “2015nlchamps2016wschamps” so you know about being long in the tooth.
Why talk to a troll? mikeyank55 demonstrated everything wrong with the Yankees. Its not their players so much as their fans that are dogpoop attached to bottom of the shoe of major league baseball.
Well, their players don’t help either…
Sorry Brooklyn. Your dodgers are long gone and now the hockey team. Can the Nets be far behind?
You should follow you own advise and not comment.
Good to see the Mets making good moves. I’d they stay healthy, they could challenge the Nats or at least win a wild card spot. Parity is great despite what Boras thinks. Also, People severely under estimate Ahmed Rosario he is my pick for rookie of the year.
Agree but Rosario went over rookie limits I believe? I Could be wrong.
he went past rookie status last year
How is there parity when about half the teams are out of it already?
How can you assume that?Season hasn’t started yet, players still to be signed. There may be a bunch that are likely out of it, but at this point last year you probably counted the twins and Milwaukee as out of it already.
Overpay here. Vargas is 35 years old and has seen his velocity drop nearly 3 mph over the past few years.
Free Clay Zavada
But they’re only paying him to produce 2 WAR over the life of the contract
Exactly, they’re paying him to be a serviceable back-end starter.
If his second half foreshadows this season, the fans and press will be unkind.
If he pitches to a 4.20 era it will be fine as long as he doesn’t get hurt.
But he didn’t pitch to a 4.20 ERA at any point last year. He pitched to a 2.22 ERA the fist half, and a 6.66 ERA the second half. THAT would NOT be fine. And at the age of 35, you can never count on a player playing the the same numbers as the previous season.
Velocity is not as important for LHP.
Crafty lefties still have a place in the game. Helps throws teams off from all the hard throwers these days.
This is an excellent move. We definitely knew we couldn’t count on 3-5 of the rotation so now have 3 solid starters with several pitchers lined up for 4 and 5. Harvey will definitely be one of them so now have an abundance for that 5th spot and more than enough if Harvey falters
great signing, a little shocked the mets made a good signing to be honest
A list of players since 2015 the Mets brought back after leaving for another team.
1. Kirk Nieuwenuis
2. Eric Young Jr.
3. Kelly Johnson
4. Jose Reyes
5. Jonathan Niese
6. Jay Bruce
7. Ty Kelly (on minors deal)
8. Matt denDekker (on minors deal)
9. Jason Vargas
and they nearly brought back Carlos Gomez in 2015.
As a mets fan im excited about all these moves. He gives us depth n innings. I absolutley love everyone saying the mets could be a wild card team….. I’m thinking they can be NL east champs…..yes nats are a very good team but hell not only have we added Bruce and Frasier but were also getting ba k 4/5 of our rotation and cespedes back. Say what you all wamt but this team IF healthy is better then the 2015 team and we all know how that turned out. Say im being over hyped on this team thats ok but if healthy they can win the east not just a wild card
Not a Mets fan but I will say this.
Y’all really need him.
Let’s get that motherfucker!
Why don’t you go and look at the offensive numbers the Mets catchers put out last year and you will see they were tops in the National League for offensive output from the catching position. Do some research man
That’s far from the truth. Mets catchers were at the middle of the NL pack in 2017:
surprised by the positive response by Mets fans. As a Phils fan, i’m primarily glad the Phils didnt sign him- but the MEts investing in him is a bonus.
Don’t get me wrong is prefer Lynn but after the destruction that our staff dealt w last year this is a big security blanket….we won’t have to worry about bringing up some no name from single A for a spot start
U jealous dale
Jealous of what? Mets are in much better shape then the Phillies.
Pitchers who have had TJ have a tendency to struggle with Control & Especially Command their First Year Back. Yarvish is a prime example.
good thing this is his 2nd year back
I think they were referring to the comments in the article about Vargas’ second-half collapse.
yeah, youre probably right. my comment still stands though lol
Mets are having a nice little offseason. They can be a sleeping giant if deGrom and Thor can stay healthy and pitch the way they are capable of. They will be right in the mix for the wildcard. Nationals are a very good regular season team so they may be tough to keep up with.
Interesting that Cashner, Garcia, and Vargas all came off the board at roughly the same time and for very similar deals.
I think this move adds two wins to their record. I had them pegged for 86 before, now with 88 they have a shot at the wildcard. That is just my prediction made by an person with zero experience in baseball.
dynamite drop in monty
Loved him as the Bizarro Newman.
As a Yankee fan, I like this move. Even the best players in the free agent market. They are ok moves that do give depth and stability. I hope they actually build off this and add a few more pieces here and there.
They already had 7 starters, this money should have went to Neil Walker.
What do they need Walker back for?
Agreed. They have Cabrera, Walker, Reyes, Rosario covering 2b, SS, 3b.
with some flores on the side
Yes, meant to include him as well. Thanks.
Some cost hindsight here but Walker would have been a better choice than A.Cab/Reyes at whatever the marginal cost difference ends up being.
most of which can’t stay healthy
and 4 of those starters will be on the DL by June
Solid depth move, major leaguer, eats innings. Best case scenario all of our guys pan out and we can move guys to the pen.
The ‘new’ Bartolo Colon, just not as sexy.
There is actually no comparison to him and Bartolo Colon. Stats, pitching style, injury history. None of it, so I do not get the reference.
It was a joke. Sarcasm, although both have gone through TJ surgery, eat innings, and are old by MLB standards.
both are veterans joining the mets on two year deals with a similar mindset, to eat innings, and provide stability.
Innings eater is what he means. And I agree. Doesn’t matter how you do it. You eat innings have an era around 4 that’s a perfect back end starter. And that’s what bato was for the Mets.
Great low risk higher end reward type sp. with the injury questions with that rotation and losing bato as there main innings eater, Vargas is perfect for what they need to compete for a wild card spot. Even with the signings they’ve made I don’t see them battling Washington for the NL east title. But needless to say a great move imo.
He should be straight in the NL.
was he gay last year?
I love how everybody’s been talking about how the Giants are too old and destined for last place…
yet the Mets are now competing for the wild card after adding Adrian Gonzalez, Todd Frazier and Jason Vargas.
Giants are in a tougher division
Riiiggghhht. First off the team’s average age is 27.5. Also 35 year old Vargas is added to a list of starting pitchers where deGrom is the eldest at 29, Harvey 28, Lugo 28, Wheeler 27, Matz 26 and Gesellmann at 25, To go along with 22 year old Rosario and Smith lest we not forget 25 year olds conforto and Nimmo and 29 year old Lagares. Poor Cespedes (33), Frazier (32) and Bruce (31) must feel like old men! Ya never know may be Vargas and Gonzalez can tell the guys about how cool the late 80’s was. Also, Giant avg age 28.2 that’s not so bad.
You just dropped the mic.
Mets – two catchers in their 20’s.
And Flores 26.
One can hit and can’t throw out a runner to save his life.
The other has good defense and can’t hit his weight.
Yet “fans” are clamoring for the Mets to sign Lucroy, whose offense and now defense have both declined significantly. We have such great and well-informed “fans” here, at least making comments here and on the Mets-related sites. I’m so proud.
I wasn’t trying to say the Mets are too old. I’m just noting the hypocrisy in the comments on this site. All I’ve seen are people bashing the Giants for signing players in their 30’s, yet here everyone is praising the Mets for the exact same thing.
For the Mets sake hopefully the Vargas signing will net results closer to that of Rich Hill with the A’s and Dodgers the past two seasons than what Derek Holland produced with the White Sox last year
Glad the White Sox took a pass on this potential flip candidate, especially for the dollars involved. Much happier with the lower cost and higher reward associated with their recent minor league deal for a much younger and familiar southpaw in Hector Santiago.
Hill has a 2.78 ERA over the last two years, so I’ll go with the over on that for Vargas.
Why? I thought that pitching was the Mets strength.
Injured pitchers are also a strength of theirs.
The added depth takes pressure off the young pitchers. Bartolo was important for that reason and hopefully Vargas can help that way
What nobody wants to bring up he won 18 games last year lol.
It shows you that none of their minor league pitchers figure to be ready. This is the type of middling SP FA deal you have to avoid with a small to lower middle market payroll that the Mets operate under. Your farm has to produce SPs. Because a 35 year old mediocrity is the best you’re likely to do when sifting through the trash and wanting to limit contracts to 2 years. He’s injury prone as well, so please no claims of “bad luck” if he gets hurt again.
They have a couple of number one picks in class A coming up to double A. Soon.
Please. Don’t buy any more lottery tickets or you won’t be able to not your mortgage.
You express yourself like typical Mets hater.
Oswalt, Flexen, Lugo, Gsellman, and Jannis in AAA,
Oswalt was AA Eastern League Pitcher of the Year.
Jannis a knuckleballer pitched well in AA and in AZ Fall League. .
Flexen, Lugo and Gsellman have lots of upside and big league experience. Mets have the luxury to keep Lugo and Gsellman in AAA, big league pen or big league rotation as needed.
&DXC you have no idea what you’re talking about. Mets have plenty of young potential studs a few years away in the pitching department ala Peterson, Dunn, Szapucki, and Oswalt. Vargas is a insurance policy and I’d rather pay him this money then what Jaime Garcia, or Andrew Cashner got. Worry about your own team and your own farm system. Mets have been one of the most active teams this offseason and getting decent players on pretty damn good contracts at that.
Great move Mets!!!
Fangraphs projects Vargas as a 1.1 WAR, Wheeler is projected 1.6. Vargas is usually a much better pitcher the first half of the year. Still this is a good addision if he stays healthy, but he won’t be the one to put them over the top. The outcome of this team will be on Syndergaard, de Grom, and Harvey.
In addition to health.
Forget Lucroy – go get J.T.
I wish, maybe mets can put together a package at the trade deadline. Doesn’t look like they have enough to pry him from Miami currently.
Nice reliable addition. Funny Mets fans continue to cry cheap meanwhile they’ve been the most active team in free agency. Try being a fan of the Pirates, Rays, Astros, Marlins, they don’t even try anymore.
How is it reliable?? He’s 35 years old and he posted a 6.66 ERA over his last 16 starts last season.
Mets give: Gsellman, Plawecki, and 2 A ball prospects
Mets get: Realmuto
I’d give them darnaud rather than plawecki if they’d take it.
They won’t take darnaud.
Marlins want Tucker from Houston in a package for Realmuto. Mets don’t have any prospects like that they’re willing to part with.
I don’t dislike this signing but I wonder how the Mets reasoned away how bad his second half was. 16 starts at an ERA nearing 7 is brutal .
Thank you!! Finally one voice of reason. Let’s take this a step further. The Mets were also pursuing Jaime Garcia – who wound up taking a one-year deal plus an option. A year from now when the Mets are looking for players again, is the Vargas contract going to stand in the way of signing a legitimate player and force them to go to the bargain bin again?
It was his first year back from Tommy John so some arm fatigue is to be expected.
Despite that he still threw 179 innings which is exactly what the Mets need. They’re not asking him to be an ace, they’re asking him to be an innings eater. Low risk, high reward.
One of the cheapest contacts in the AL for the previous seasons wins leader!