The ice floe that has been the hot stove has begun to move, as three free agent pitchers have now been signed in three days: Andrew Cashner with the Baltimore Orioles, Jaime Garcia with the Toronto Blue Jays, and now 35-year-old left-handed free agent Jason Vargas, who has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal today with the New York Mets.
Jason Vargas’ contract is two years, $16 million with a club option for 2020, according to a source. @JonHeyman, who first reported the signing, says he can earn an additional $1.5 million per season based on innings.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 16, 2018
Vargas was an 18-game winner in 2017, posting an ERA of 4.16 for the Kansas City Royals and being named an All-Star for the first time in his career. Vargas had a spectacular first half, going 12-3 with a 2.62 ERA, but went only 6-8 with a 6.38 ERA after the All-Star break.
Vargas has pitched with the Florida Marlins, Mets, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, and Royals. He had Tommy John surgery in 2015 and missed most of the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
Vargas spent time in the Mets organization from 2007 after being traded from Marlins. He made two spot starts for the club that July, then was traded in the offseason to the Mariners in a three-team trade highlighted by J.J. Putz and Franklin Gutierrez.
Vargas joins a Mets rotation that was once feared, but has been beset by injury for the past two seasons. The Mets rotation currently includes Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler, with Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo also fighting for spots.
For most of the offseason, the Mets had been quiet in the starting pitcher free agent market, but now have made significant move by adding Vargas to add further depth and solidity to the starting rotation.