Hope springs eternal when the Mets arrive at Port St. Lucie each year. Brodie made a handful of nice moves this offseason and there’s no question this roster is better than last year’s. I’m ready to live and die by Brodie’s “come get us” mantra used earlier this winter.
That was, however, until Mickey Callaway made a revelation during his opening Spring Training press conference. When asked about the back-end of the rotation, Callaway stated that it's Jason Vargas's job. Period.
Mickey Callaway confirms: Jason Vargas is the Mets' fifth starter. There will be no competition for rotation spots this spring. (deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler, Matz, Vargas are the five.)— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) February 13, 2019
My question is this: WHY?!?!?
In case you forgot, or choose to block out his starts from last season, Vargas posted a whopping 5.77 ERA and a 1.413 WHIP over 20 starts in 2018. But let’s be real, you don’t need a slew of advanced metrics to know that Vargas was really, really bad last season. If you caught only a handful of starts by Vargas than you watched a handful too many.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little competition. That should bring out the best in professional athletes. The moment you feel comfortable is the moment you lose your edge. Everyone should be entering Spring Training with the thought of, “I’m playing for my job” and/or playing time (except for Jacob deGrom). Handing over Vargas a spot in the rotation before he even threw a bullpen session this spring was a mistake and one that won’t be overlooked by the fanbase.
Take a look at the remaining free agents. There are no shortage of options available that I would take over Vargas or at the very least battling with him for the final spot behind deGrom, Syndergaard, Wheeler and Matz. If you want to change the perception around the franchise than you need to know this is simply unacceptable.
Let’s forget about Vargas for a second and remember that someone is bound to go down at some point during the season. That’s just a fact Mets fans know all too well. Why wouldn’t you look to bulk up the rotation depth with a few veterans you can take a flier on? With this many free agents available price tags must not be that high. And even if they were, is it really so bad to overpay someone on a short-term deal that you know might be able to put this team over the edge in 2019?
You have some unfinished work out there to do, Brodie.
T7L contributing blogger - Follow Tim on Twitter