For those waiting for the other shoe to drop after the New York Mets acquired Marcus Stroman on Sunday, it might have happened on Monday.
The Mets traded veteran left-hander Jason Vargas to the Philadelphia Phillies, as first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Passan.
In return, the Phillies are sending minor-league catcher Austin Bossart to the Mets. Bossart is currently at the Double-A level and is slashing .195/.303/.335, though he is better known for his defense behind the dish more than anything.
This season, he has thrown out 35-percent of potential base stealers. However, a lack of offensive promise will make his path to the majors a difficult one.
Vargas had been a trade candidate for most of the season seeing as he could be a free agent as soon as next season. He has an $8 million club option in his deal for 2020 with a $2 million buyout clause included.
The hope was that the 36-year-old would increase his value this season after a disappointing 2018 campaign in which he went 7-9 with a 5.77 ERA and he has managed to do so.
His numbers as a whole this season won’t jump off the page at 6-5 with a 4.01 ERA, but he’s stepped up as the team’s No. 5 starter since Apr. 30.
In his last 14 starts, he’s 5-4 with a 3.40 ERA, but that wasn’t enough to get a more promising prospect.
The Mets don’t seem to be out of the woods when it comes to trading starting pitchers. It is still unclear whether Noah Syndergaard or Zack Wheeler will be traded before Major League Baseball’s deadline on Wednesday.
For the Phillies, Vargas provides a much-needed southpaw in a rotation of struggling right-handers. Behind Aaron Nola, Philadelphia has received little help from the likes of Zach Eflin, the injured Jake Arrieta, Nick Pivetta (who was demoted to the bullpen), and Vince Velasquez.
His ability to eat innings will also take some stress off the shoulders of a banged-up bullpen that has experienced plenty of struggles as well.