Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Analysis: Adding Vargas Was Smart Move by Mets

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Analysis: Adding Vargas Was Smart Move by Mets

Article excerpt

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — In these early days of February, the Mets are allowed to envision dream outcomes involving their pitchers. Sure, perhaps this will be the year they all stay healthy. Maybe the "five aces" rotation finally is used for the first time.

Until any of those scenarios unfold, those projections will be rooted in hope rather than reality. And that's why it was prudent for the Mets to add another starting pitcher like they did Friday when agreed to terms on a two-year deal with lefty Jason Vargas. Vargas will earn $16 million, and there is a team option with a buyout for 2020.

"He can pitch," Mets manager Mickey Callaway said. "A guy that goes out there, does his job, tremendous teammate. He gave (Cleveland) fits when we were facing him."

Adding a starting pitcher was never a priority for the Mets this winter, but the 2017 season proved that the Mets needed to give themselves added insurance.

Fresh off two consecutive playoff appearances, the Mets entered camp in 2017 with a collection of seven starters that some felt was unparalleled in the sport. By the middle of the season, the Mets' rotation was in shambles, devastated by injuries.

Noah Syndergaard made just seven starts. Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler and Steven Matz didn't make to the finish line. Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo missed time and were ineffective. Only Jacob deGrom managed to avoid the fate that befell the others.

"You just never know. The injuries, you try to prevent them but sometimes you can't help it so having an extra guy who can fill in, depth is what you need" said deGrom, who tossed a career-best 201 1/3 innings. "t's a lot of games. There's going to be a time when guys need a day off or whatever. Somebody can fill in. Any extra arm is a plus."

By adding Vargas, the Mets now at least have another reliable source for innings in case any of the other starters have down seasons again. Before Friday, the Mets could truly only count on Syndergaard and deGrom as safe bets for their rotation. …

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