For the second consecutive season, the Philadelphia Phillies have struck a deal with the division-rival New York Mets in advance of the July 31 trade deadline.
No, Noah Syndergaard isn’t coming to Philadelphia.
According to Jeff Passan of ESPN, the Phillies have landed LHP Jason Vargas from the Mets. The Phillies, per Joel Sherman of The New York Post, are sending Double-A catcher Austin Bossart to the Mets for Vargas, who the Phillies will have an $8 million option on after the season. Bossart, 26, is hitting .195 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 2019 for the Reading Fightin’ Phils. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says the Phillies are going to get $2.9 million as part of the trade as well.
The 36-year-old lefty is 6-5 with a 4.01 ERA, 4.71 FIP and 1.1 fWAR in 2019. While Vargas posted an ERA of 2.70 in five starts in June, he has a 4.82 ERA in five starts for the Mets this month. The best season of his career came all the way back in 2010, when he went 9-12 with a 3.78 ERA, 3.95 FIP and 3.4 fWAR in 31 starts. For his career, Vargas has a 4.26 ERA and 4.42 FIP.
It’s not immediately clear who Vargas will replace in the Phillies starting rotation. Zach Eflin is 0-4 with a 12.64 ERA this month, but manager Gabe Kapler said over the weekend that the Phillies didn’t plan to take him out of the rotation. Perhaps this trade will change their plans. If not, either of Vince Velasquez or Drew Smyly could lose their spot in the rotation, if we assume that the plan is to continue to have Jake Arrieta pitch through a bone spur in his elbow.
Vargas, of course, made headlines earlier this season when he told a Mets beat writer that he would “Knock him the **** out, bro” following a dispute the reporter had with Mets manager Mickey Callaway. Ultimately, Vargas had to be held back from the reporter by a couple of teammates. A day later, Vargas was slammed for issuing what appeared to be a non-apology regarding the incident.
In his career, Vargas has appeared in just four games at Citizens Bank Park, two of which have been starts. Over that span, he has a 6.23 ERA. However, he did strike out 10 Phillies across 6.1 innings on June 26, a game the Phillies ultimately came back and won.
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