Keuchel? Kimbrel? What will it take for the Mets to replace Jason Vargas?
It goes without question that Jason Vargas has been an unproductive option for the New York Mets during the beginning of this young season. The 36-year-old couldn’t get out of the first inning on Saturday, allowing four earned runs while only recording one out.
When asked about Vargas, Mets Manager, Mickey Callaway stated, “He’s just not getting outs at this point. That’s really all I can say.”
Following the disastrous outing, Jason Vargas stated that he was “confused” about the entire situation. It seems as though Vargas’s next start may be pushed back, but it’s almost certain he will be allowed another start in the near future.
With the Mets being a win now team, it’s important they solve this issue quickly. Luckily, the Phillies, Braves, and Nationals have pitching issues of their own; but at the end of the day, these teams aren’t going anywhere.
Currently, two names sit at the top of the free agency market that would hopefully put all of these problems to rest. Closer, Craig Kimbrel and starting pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, have yet to dot the I’s and cross the t’s entering this 2019 season.
2018 World Series winner, Craig Kimbrel, has been patiently waiting for his requested contract. The 30-year-old has been one of the best closer’s of this generation, posting a career 1.91 ERA, with 333 saves. Despite a drop off at the end of the 2018 season, there’s no debating that this elite arm would put the Mets bullpen over the top.
The fear of a substantial decline is a major factor in the absence of a contract for Craig; especially when the All-Star closer was originally asking for a long-term deal worth over $100 million. According to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal, Kimbrel’s asking price now sits in the range of Wade Davis’ three-year, $52 million contract and Zack Britton’s three-year, $39 million deal. With this information, it now seems tangible for Mets General Manager, Brodie Van Wagenen, to make a move.
The issue then relies on the fact that Edwin Diaz is a stellar closer, and it’s assumed that Kimbrel expects to close wherever he ends up; however, signing Craig could land Seth Lugo, or Robert Gsellman into the rotation, solving the fifth starter issue.
Another solution? Former Cy Young Award winner, Dallas Keuchel. The 31-year-old has also stuck to his gut, refusing to take less then what he believes he’s worth. The left-handed starting pitcher is 76-63 during his MLB career, posting an ERA of 3.66.
Similar to Kimbrel, it seems many general managers are cautious of the decline of Dallas. Keuchel’s original asking price was again, long-term, in the $100 million range; although, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that Dallas is “open to a good one-year deal.” If this is the case, there should be little excuse for not aggressively seeking the dominant starter.
The addition of Dallas Keuchel will remove Vargas from the rotation, allow Lugo and Gsellman to stay put, and present a legit starting five for the New York Mets.
Let’s not forget, the Phillies, Braves, and Nationals all need pitching. The last thing the Mets need is for any of these three teams to acquire either of these arms before they do.
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