Vargas Predictable, Great

Even with the Mets having improved pitching depth, the team went out and signed Jason Vargas to a minor league deal.

Based upon the people the Mets brought into the organization the past year, it should come as little surprise Vargas was the guy.

First and foremost, there is Omar Minaya. After the Mets lost in Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS, Omar began looking to address one of the Mets weak points – starting pitching depth.

In what proved to be an unpopular trade, the Mets sent Matt Lindstrom and Henry Owens for the 24 year old Vargas. The whole of Vargas’ Mets career amounted to two starts where he went 0-1 with a 12.19 ERA.

Roughly two years later, Vargas was one of 12 players in the ill-fated J.J. Putz trade. When you consider Joe Smith was part of the deal, a Mets team looking to improve their pitching wound up trading the two best pitchers in that deal.

With respect to Vargas, that may not have been entirely anticipated. But that is what happened over his three team nine year post-Putz trade career.

The most recent stop was Kansas City where he played for current Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland, who as it turned out, gave Vargas a ringing endorsement.

With that, the Mets have made would could be the most predictable signing of the offseason. It also should prove to be a good one.

Likely, the Mets can count on Vargas to last a full season. That’s important considering you can’t expect the same from Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler. Perhaps more importantly, it’s just another arm to the equation.

As of the moment, the Mets have a somewhat incomplete bullpen. Publicly, the Mets are bandying about getting a second left-handed reliever to compete with P.J. Conlon and Matt Purke. However, the real need, and the one Mickey Callaway has discussed – the long reliever.

With Vargas here, either him or Matz could serve in both roles much like Darren Oliver did in 2006.

If not those two, we can see Eiland attempt to make Harvey or Wheeler the Mets version of Wade Davisor Luke Hochevar.

Really, the possibilities are endless. Same goes for the Mets season if Vargas permits Callaway and Eiland to effectively mix and match to get the most out of this Mets pitching staff.

0 thoughts on “Vargas Predictable, Great”

  1. OldBackstop says:

    This is a solid move, although ou can’t expect the 18-11 All Star he has last year But we don’t need him to be that.

    What this also does is maybe free up one of the kid SPs for a trade for….oh, let’s dream, Realmuto, or dream less, Harrison.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I don’t want Realmuto. Terrible pitch framer.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        Sayy whaaaa? Pitch framing as in fooling umps on the corners? Fake News. That is so 2013, dude. That was a bubble phenomenon, as soon as the umps saw you making fools of them in the debriefs it flopped. Look at Lucroy, first to worst.

        This has been debunked to death on Bill James site, put up a separate article and I’ll dump the numbers for you.

        Realmuto would be an improvement at every level to our guys….throwing out runners, power, average, and he isn’t a free agent until 2021.He’s three years younger than D’Arnaud.

        Realmuto threw out 32% of runners last year, D’Arnaud 17%….WAR, oWAR, dWAR….Jesus, throw a rock at a metric.

        I’d give up a bucket for Realmuto….their choice of our catchers plus Nimmo plus Gsellman.


        1. metsdaddy says:

          You’re completely wrong on pitch framing as we still don’t have robot umpires. It’s the single most important thing a catcher does.

          And not too coincidentally, you put waaaaaaaaaaaaay too much emphasis on throwing out base runners. There is a stolen base attempt 0.17% of all pitches thrown.

          Give me the guy who knows how to catch over the guy who knows how to throw every day of the week.

          1. OldBackstop says:

            No, umps AREN’T robots, they atre living breating guys with careers who don’t like to lose their jobs and look like fools. They are individually and as a group graded and reviewed. Somebody yanking a glove in two inches….it worked for a window in time. But as soon as your fools were fooled twice, it became counter productive.
            Dude, you….this isn’t eve worth a conversation, you just have to beep up with the research. In 2016 the number one catcher in the major leagues was Buster Posey with 25 framing runs saved– huzzah! In 2017 Posey was 30th with one run saved….did he get stupid? Jonathan Lucroy was a perennial top 3 in the fledgling stat five years ago….first in 2010, first in 2011….now he is bottom five every year, 25th, 28th….
            Please give that up. It’s worse than useless. You land a catcher who “stole” a lot of runs last year, you are getting a guy with a bullseye on his back, exactly where the umps are staring at it.

          2. metsdaddy says:

            It doesn’t work that way, and that’s why good framing catchers typically are good year to year. That is unless you really believe an umpire hesitates before every pitch and says, “Well, I was going to call that a strike, but it’s d’Arnaud, so it’s a ball. Wait where was I? What’s happening? I know I’ll just claim someone called timeout.”

  2. Gothamist says:

    Everything points upward for a solid Vargas year.
    I do not know who the subsequent trade bait would be, selling high, who is in demand of those that SA is willing trade.
    I do not know of any realistic lefty adds to the pen other than Matz.

    Seeing the Vargas stat line, his off speed offerings, his maturity, being a lefty, in the TJ club and a managable two year deal the Wilpon’s can afford, without losing a pick or intl FA signing money as the perfect acquisition for the staff.

    Will the Pirates take Cabrera and a pitcher as a core of a package for Harrison?
    Will Jeter dump Realmuto without getting a crowd pleaser in return?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Conlon would be a good add to the pen. Purke has the stuff.

      Personally, I wouldn’t trade any pitching. Mets got themselves into trouble doing that. They should not repeat that mistake

      1. Gothamist says:

        So it is settled. Conlon has the roster spot

        1. metsdaddy says:

          Not necessarily. Lot of names for just one spot.

  3. Five Tool Ownership says:

    I want Stalin Castro like the plague yet here is a trade to try to please all of you:

    Castro and Realmuto for: Cabrera, Nimmo, Travis and Lugo

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Not getting it done for Realmutio, and I’m not trading pitching depth.

      1. Gothamist says:

        You will not get him unless you give up Dom Smith for starters.
        His control is for three years.
        plus .. His CS rate was 32% last year.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          I don’t want him. He’s a terrible pitch framer.

          1. Five Tool Ownership says:

            I do not live in Miami nor know a atat for pitch framing.
            Only playoff teams need to catch base stealers…
            Travis at 16% vs Realmuto at 33% who really cares?

          2. metsdaddy says:

            Astros won a WS with McCann throwing out 13% of base stealers.

    2. OldBackstop says:

      Travis and Cabera are then useless, Lugo might come out as our eighth SP, and Nimmo is an utterly replaceable 5th OFer

      The Marlins would be nuts to make that deal, though. The only guy they should be interested is Nimmo.

      Lugo is an Age 28 guy who has 30 something games. If Gsellman and Nimmo would get Realmuto I’d do it in a second.

      We fall in love with our youth. If Nimmo and Lugo were at average salaries, none of us would be fans of them. We all like them because, like the Wilpons they are cheap.

      1. Gothamist says:

        I like Lugo for August 2016, the world baseball classic and I am curious about his spin rate and where that goes from here.

        I see Lugo as a long man and a much better spot starter they had in 2014-2017.

        Nimmo maybe is an enthusiastic, positive guy. a strange OBP achiever, had key PHs in 2016 and hope he has upside.

        SA was ready to trade him in 2016?

        Excited? no….

        I want to believe some draft picks outside of tween first rounder Fulmer mace it…

        I am curious about what happens this year?

        Can Noah put hitters away and minimize his pitch count?
        What does Wheeler and Matz have if they are not on the DL?
        Make it or break it for Robles and Montero?
        Who is the 2017 Kevin Plawecki?
        Travis’s and Juanny’s durability
        Can Cespedes hit clutch much at all?
        What happens to Cecchini, TJ and Wilmer?
        Rosario’s plate awareness and can he cover the outside of the plate?
        Can Harvey get precise location and use four pitches?
        Does Jake stay healthy?
        First base…?

        Not worried about:
        Bruce, Vargas, Conforto, Reyes, Cabrera…..

        Bullpen? for who knows?

  4. Five Tool Ownership says:

    Cespedes speaks very passable english but he is scared shitless of the NY media?
    A coward?

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Do not conflate not doing interviews in English with being a coward.

  5. OldBackstop says:

    Metsdaddy says up above we shouldn’t make the mistake of trading pitching because we got ourselves into trouble doing that.

    When do you mean?

    Our trouble last year was that the pitching we had brought along ourselves or traded in (Noah) weren’t showing up for work. In a pitcher, that makes them equivalent to being a broken copier machine. Fulmer had us all wringer our hands in 2016, but….he was a ho-hum 10-12 last year.

    The Dodgers were the best team in baseball last year…why? They had 5 pitchers make 24 plus starts. There is absolutely no reason other than optimism to think Matz or Lugo or Wheeler are going to throw 24 plus starts. They aren’t 22 years old….they have been professional pitchers for a long time and the defining characteristic is not showing up for work.

    The formula for this year is:

    DeGrom 30 starts 17-8
    Thor 30 starts 17-8
    Vargas 25 starts 12-12
    Harvey 25 starts 12-14

    We are 16 games over .500 at that point.

    All we need is one more .500ish pitcher to take the ball every fifth day….and I don’t see him. Having four guys then trying to cobble together 10 starts each going looking over their shoulder and going on and off the DL and into the pen and long relief and shuttling to LV is a disaster in every way….bad for their arms, bad for the pen, and bad for the team.

    I would all for a trade unloading some of our shiny Ace Bandages for a real pitcher out there .

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Mets traded away Fulmer and a bunch of other pitchers in 2015. When we needed them, we were stuck with the Monteros if the world.

      You don’t trade pitching unless you are getting pitching back.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        ? Who other than Fulmer in 2015? We brouth IN Blevins, Addison….and also won a pennant. Traded away Niese, I’m sure that didn’t worry anyone.

        The formula for a winning franchise is you keep your plus pitchers, and trade away your less than plus pitchers when they are still young enough (23-24) for some sucker to have faith in an upside. But we wind up holding on to Lugo, Montero, Wheeler, even after they have given powerful indications that they don’t have the unique physical durability it takes to be a major league starter.

        Because they are cheap, and so are the Wilpons.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          In 2015 alone, the Mets traded Fulmer, Mazzoni, Wieck, Meisner, Frias, Cessa, Gant, Whalen, Diaz, and Koch.

          With the exception of Frias and maybe Diaz, these were all legitimate prospects. With them gone, the Mets not only lost out on the chance to develop them, but they also lost their shot to move them for higher end players.

  6. OldBackstop says:


    Like who???? I just gave you the famous examples, Lucroy and Posey, worst to first. Tell me one guy that has been top five since 2010. The numbers say the exact opposite of what you keep repeating.

    To the extent there is a phenomenon, it is a function of the pitching staff. Look at Lucroy’s “framing” numbers collapse when he got traded. You can stick your glove wherever you want, the ball has to go there.

    This has been thoroughly debunked by studies in the last year. Look at the articles on sabermetric sites.

    Do some reading.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      I like how when you present a false argument, you become nasty and indignant.

      And no, it’s not a pitcher created thing or something that has been debunked. No one is doing that because the data doesn’t bear that out.

      Oh and by the way, to answer your question, Grandal and Flowers were in the Top 5 in consecutive years.

      1. OldBackstop says:

        It’s a stat that jumped the shark. Like four years ago I had an extended debate with Rob Neyer online and predicted that Lucroy would get payback along with anyone who stuck his head above the crowd. Exactly what happened. Bill James, after years of dramatically stepping out of any framing debate, came out a few months ago pointing out that it is not a skill likely to survive the current technology overseeing umpires.

        Others did studies on how the “top framers” cluster mysteriously around the same pitching staffs and how volatile that stats are. No actual skill goes from first to worst, first to worst.

        To say you would prefer Realmuto over any current Mets catcher is just ridiculous.

        1. metsdaddy says:

          What’s ridiculous is taking an aging catcher who has dimished in every aspect of his game and using that as proof a stat has “jumped the shark.”

          Pitch framing is a real skill, and I’ll take that skill over throwing out base runners.

          And yes, I don’t want Realmuto because he’s not a good catcher. He’s an ok hitter who can throw. Big deal.

  7. OldBackstop says:

    Framing is a skill that deteriorates with age? You officially unique in that theory. Please expand, love to hear this.

    1. metsdaddy says:

      Skills deteriorating as a player Agra is not a novel theory.

      Look at your poster boy Lucroy. In 2016, Lucroy was a 30 year old 123 OPS+ player with good pitch framing stats.

      Last year, every part of his game fell apart. His pitch framing went south. His 123 OPS+ became an 84.

      He’s older, at least for a catcher, and his skills are declining. It’s evident in every aspect of his game.

  8. OldBackstop says:

    “”Astros won a WS with McCann throwing out 13% of base stealer.””

    I’ll help you out, he was platooned with Gattis, who only threw out 10%.

    But the point is, in framing runs, your dealbreaker on catchers, Gattis was 24th and McCann was 43ed. D’Arnaud was 9th and did not win the WS.

    Why did the Astros overcome the catchers defense? Well, they were high up in pitching stats, so they were dealing with fewer baserunners. And they also scored 50 more runs than any team in their league. Any real or imagined defensive deficiencies aside, the position combined for a 2.5 WAR, since they both were thumpers.

    Realmuto WAR in 2017: 3.6

    Not surprisingly the Astros Hot Stove has beaten the drums for a trade for Realmuto…..

    There is a tipping point at which the offensive contribution of a catcher outweighs the defensive magic dust of framing and becomes the more valuable player. And considering age and salary and the gun with baserunner, Realmuto launches the two Mets into the stratosphere on that teeter totter.

    1. Gothamist says:

      The Mets traded pitchers in 2015 at their peak value.

      Besides Fulmer, I believe only Cessa has a future.

      Fulmer seems to have a bounceback year coming. I might be wrong.

      The other pitching was crap that we traded in 2015 and we know it demonstrates that they need much more player development assets and spending!

      I do not know if SA is at fault for the abysmal drafting?

      I will tell you this !

      There were great prospects obtained by the Yankees without drafting one single pick beyond tne Chapman acquisition at 15 cents on the dollar!

      The astutely scouted Miller, signed him at the high end but had vision to see the contract as tradable. They got great prospects (some ultimately packaged for other trade(s), then after trading Miller they dealt Chapman’s expiring contract for great prospect(s)…. the rest is history.

      They had balls to trade for Chapman.

      Yet, with signing Andrew Miller and the ballsey low cost Chapman acquisition they had huge returns with almost no draft excellence involved.

      THE METS ARE BEAN COUNTERS AND FOCUSING ON AVOIDING FAILURE how to focus on a success long term signing if you focus mostly on avoiding failure? mostly focus on lines in the sand before free agency starts?



      What major market team did not have two long term contract duds…?

      Too bad Carlos Gomez was the only Wheeler and Wilmer trade option we know of?
      What is the Cespedes trade was also in the plans as deal number two and with Gomez SA had more leverage with Detroit who was not going to resign Cespedes anyway…

      Sandy had the Milwaukee deal done five days before the deadline. He usually waits longer. Wilmer was worthless against KC, Wheeler has done nothing and Carlos Gomez was not having a great 2015 and bombed in Houston.

      Sandy tried to get value for Wheeler and Wilmer.

      Lugo was not worth anything as a low pick until August 2016 and tore his tendon eight months later…

      When was Wheeler really a trade asset?

      The only players who should of been traded earlier in his career before Minaya was out was David Wright and Jose Reyes.

      We discussed those missed opportunities that for years…

      Since 2011 up to 2015, what tradable assets???

      1. metsdaddy says:

        You’re expecting a bounce back year from a guy who was an All Star last year and the Rookie of the Year the prior year.

        As for trading pitchers at peak value, that’s a red herring. The point was the Mets traded an abundance of pitching, and when they finally needed to tap into that organizational depth, it was gone.

    2. metsdaddy says:

      McCann did not platoon with Gattis.

      McCann had a down year for him, and you’ll notice the Astros had a 4.12 team ERA, and they were 15th in walks.

      The reason why the Astros won was offense with them scoring the most runs in baseball.

      And the reason why Realmuto had a disproportionately high WAR is two factors: (1) 109 OPS+; (2) Defensive aspect of WAR for catchers really only measures the arm.

      It doesn’t measure the things that really matter like calling a game and pitch framing, which is an aspect TdA and Plawecki make Realmuto look like a novice. That’s why on a team built on pitching, I’ll take the two who know how to handle their position over the guy who was a slightly above league average hitter and who has a good arm.

      As an aside, there’s probably a reason why pitchers don’t improve after leaving the Mets and why is everyone is better when they’re not throwing to Realmuto.

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