Can This Man Be Trusted?

Can we trust Jason Vargas going into the 2019 season? 

Do we have a choice?

Last offseason, Jason Vargas was signed to a two year deal and the fifth spot in the rotation was up for grabs. Vargas’ spot was essentially secure due to the financial investment the Mets made, and Zack Wheeler was sent to Las Vegas.

Shortly afterwards, Jason Vargas was struck by a line drive and was placed on the disabled list. Zack Wheeler returned to Queens, and for the very first time the “five aces” pitched together in the same rotation. That didn’t exactly work out, but that’s a discussion for another day.

When Jason Vargas returned to the rotation he was awful. It should be noted that he didn’t have a proper spring training, and it could be said that he was rushed back into action. Regardless, Vargas was NOT good.

Here are his first half numbers:

8.60 ERA, 32 K, 14 BB, 1.832 WHIP in 37.2 IP.

There were multiple games that Vargas pitched where the game was essentially over by the second or third inning. After some time spent on the disabled list, and some time banished from the rotation, it should be said that Vargas did end the season on a high note.

Jason Vargas had a 2.62 ERA over his last 8 starts and an overall ERA of 3.81 in the second half.

Impressive, no doubt. However, if I could play devil’s advocate for a second – rarely if ever did Jason Vargas pitch more than 5 innings.

But let’s say that Vargas’ terrible first half was truly the result of rushing back from an injury. An ERA between 4.00 and 4.50 would be perfectly acceptable from your fifth starter.

What if a situation arises where Jason Vargas becomes your fourth starter though? Or :gulp: your third starter?

The main theme of this offseason under the new regime has been depth and eliminating “ifs.” Where is the starting pitching depth? Is it fair to classify Hector Santiago or Walker Lockett as anything but “ifs” going forward? One or two injuries (which isn’t out of the realm of possibility by the way) and we may find ourselves in Chris Flexen/Corey Oswalt territory.

So, what’s the verdict? Can Jason Vargas be trusted?

Maybe. As depth…


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