The Mets plan to stick with Jason Vargas in the rotation despite his struggles, general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said Sunday (link via MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo). “We’re not going to be making drastic changes to our club after one bad inning of a start where he had a schedule that was derailed from the start of the season,” said Van Wagenen of Vargas, who recorded just one out against the Braves on Saturday. Of course, a move to yank Vargas from the rotation would be based on more than just his most recent outing; the 36-year-old has yielded 10 runs on 14 hits and four walks with three strikeouts in 6 1/3 frames this season. And while he did enjoy a solid second half in 2018, his overall results last year were dismal. As DiComo notes, however, the Mets are lacking in terms of internal depth alternatives, and a run at free-agent Dallas Keuchel still does not appear to be in the cards.
More from the NL to kick off the week…
- Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald chatted with D-backs GM Mike Hazen and assistant GM Amiel Sawdaye (both former Red Sox execs) about the team’s current standing and unwillingness to plunge into a full-fledged rebuild. “Teams do that to pick at the top of the draft, more for a monetary perspective,” said Sawdaye of the growing trend of aggressive tanking. However, the Diamondbacks knew they’d have a huge bonus pool this year by virtue of qualifying offers to Patrick Corbin and A.J. Pollock, and they were able to land a second Competitive Balance draft selection in the Paul Goldschmidt trade. Hazen acknowledged that it’s “cleaner and easier” to declare that a team is either rebuilding or “all-in” on winning, but the Arizona organization is trying to walk the line. Hazen cites the unexpected success of the Athletics and Rays in 2018 as a means of pointing out that even clubs tabbed by projection systems as middle-of-the-pack teams can make strong postseason pushes. Sawdaye voiced a belief that the D-backs inherited a team that had more talent than the Astros or Cubs at the time those teams opted for a full-scale teardown, while Hazen stressed the importance of fostering a “culture of winning” even in times of possible transition. Both execs offer insight and perspective that go against some of the game’s common trends right now, making for an interesting interview that’s well worth a read for fans of any club.
- Cardinals center fielder Harrison Bader is currently dealing with what the team hopes is a minor hamstring injury, per Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Bader was out of the lineup Sunday and is expected to be further evaluated today. The initial prescription for Bader was merely to rest the injury for a full day, but if the pain in his leg lingers today, he could undergo an MRI as well. The 24-year-old Bader, one of the game’s premier defenders in center field, is off to a sluggish .179/.347/.359 start through 50 trips to the plate.
- In a separate piece, Goold notes that righty Carlos Martinez threw a 20-pitch bullpen session — consisting entirely of fastballs — on Saturday and is expected to do so again today. From there, he’ll move to live batting practice (assuming today’s ’pen session goes well) before the Cardinals make a determination on not only the location of his rehab assignment but also the role in which he’ll pitch on that assignment. The organization is still mulling whether Martinez will pitch as a starter or as a reliever in 2019.