MLB rumors: Mets could bring back one of their former pitchers to boost rotation
Jason Vargas didn't spend long in New York, but he could return
The New York Mets have had a productive offseason. They've added Todd Frazier and Adrian Gonzalez at the corner-infield positions, Anthony Swarzak in the bullpen, and even brought back Jay Bruce to slot into their right-field vacancy. The rotation is the one area the Mets haven't addressed. That might change soon -- and it might lead to a reunion with an old friend.
Per Mike Puma of the New York Post, the Mets have maintained "solid interest" in free-agent lefty Jason Vargas:
Vargas, who appeared in two games for the Mets in 2007, is a sensible choice for general manager Sandy Alderson. Though he's viewed as a third- or fourth-tier option on the open market, he's coming off a season in which he posted a 108 ERA+ and 2.31 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Sure, he had a miserable second half -- he allowed 84 hits and 52 runs over his final 73 innings -- but he has a track record of being a capable big-league starter thanks to his high-grade changeup and ability to pound the strike zone.
The Mets have a talented rotation as it is, led by Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Yet injuries did a number on them in 2017, as deGrom was the only Mets pitcher to start more than 25 times. Adding Vargas would serve two purposes: boosting both the quality of the back-end of the rotation, and the available depth by likely pushing Robert Gsellman to the minors.
It's unclear how much Vargas is demanding. Given how things have gone on the free-agent market lately, however, it's possible the Mets will be able to land him on a bargain deal.
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