6:06PM: Vargas will indeed undergo surgery to remove his hamate bone, with the Mets announcing that the procedure will take place on Tuesday.
9:22AM: Mets left-hander Jason Vargas suffered a non-displaced fracture of his right hamate bone during his outing Friday, the team announced. It’s unclear how long Vargas will be on the shelf, though Kristie Ackert of the New York Daily News estimates two to six weeks, depending on whether he undergoes surgery. General manager Sandy Alderson told Tim Britton of The Athletic and other reporters Sunday that surgery is an option for Vargas, who will see a hand specialist Sunday.
“He’ll either pitch through it or he’ll have it surgically repaired,” Alderson said.
Vargas’ injury is the latest in a run of poor health for Mets starters, who suffered through a disastrous 2017. Jacob deGrom was the only member of the group to get through the season unscathed, while ace Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman each sat out significant periods of time. The only member of that injury-plagued group who delivered a high-end performance was Syndergaard. The rest struggled mightily when they stepped on the mound, contributing to the Mets’ unexpected fall from grace in 2017. Mets starters finished 17th in the majors in fWAR (8.8, exactly half of which came from deGrom) and 27th in ERA (5.12).
In response to last season’s issues in their rotation, the Mets added Vargas on a two-year, $16MM guarantee over the winter with the hope he’d competently eat innings. The 35-year-old did just that in 2017 as a member of the Royals, logging a 4.16 ERA (with a much less encouraging 4.67 FIP) over 179 2/3 frames. Now, it seems the beginning of his second stint with the Mets, with whom he previously pitched in 2007, will be delayed. If that ends up being the case, the Mets will likely plug Wheeler into their rotation to join Syndergaard, deGrom, Harvey and Matz, Mike Puma of the New York Post suggests.