There is no doubt that New York Mets pitcher Jason Vargas had struggled through his first three starts of this season. Even saying he struggled is being very kind to the veteran. Through 12.1 innings he has allowed 26 hits, 19 runs, five home runs and seven walks. There have not been any positives that Vargas can hang his hat on over this rough stretch.
The Mets inked the 35-year old left hander to a two year, $16 million deal with an option for a third year. He was an all-star in 2017 but his first and second half of the season were day and night. He had a 2.62 ERA in the first half and 6.38 in the second half of the season. His horrible second half of the season did not stop the Mets from giving him a two-year contract. The Mets were banking on Vargas to play the role Bartolo Colon had over his tenure with the Mets.
Vargas Has Struggled Big Time
Not only has Vargas not rebounded, but he has been worse and his 13.86 ERA shows it. His fastball sits in the mid to high 80s and if the location is not perfect, he is throwing batting practice. The Mets have to get a few off days over the next 10 days which allows them to skip Vargas next start. He will throw a simulated game during the week but the fuse is running short with him.
The Mets are certainly in a win now mode and they can not wait for Vargas to regain his groove. They showed this with how quickly they got rid of Matt Harvey. The Mets also have plenty of options to replace Vargas in the rotation. Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman are both very capable starters at the big league level and have been good out of the Mets bullpen this season. Corey Oswalt and P.J. Conlon will likely be put in the bullpen before the rotation, but are also options for the Mets.
How Much Time Does Vargas Have Left?
Vargas might have one, maybe two starts before the Mets move him to the bullpen. If he continues to get shelled it would be an easy move to the bullpen. One solid start buys Vargas another handful in the rotation. They paid him a decent amount of money in the offseason, but that should not stop the Mets from taking him out of the rotation if he is not producing.
The Mets have been lucky with the amount of off days/rain outs they have received which allows them to continue to push Vargas back. The Mets would welcome Vargas pitching anywhere close to where he was in the first half of 2017. There is no reason to doubt that he will rebound but he is not creating many believers after his first three starts of the season.