Veteran lefty Dallas Keuchel, winner of the 2015 AL Cy Young award, is still unemployed at this moment. Not unemployed this moment is veteran lefty Jason Vargas of the Mets. Here’s his 2019 work to date:
On Saturday, Vargas was ritually abused by the Braves — four earned in just 1/3 of an inning — and the Mets may be running out of patience. That’s understandable given that the Mets aim to contend in the tough NL East and that Vargas is now 36 and also was a liability in 2018 (5.77 ERA across 20 starts).
All of that leads us to this:
Obviously, any number of aspiring contenders can use the 30-year-old Keuchel, who’s coming off a 2018 season in which he registered a 3.74 ERA in 204 2/3 innings and won the fourth Gold Glove of his career. For that career, he owns anof 108, and three times in the last five years he’s topped 200 innings in a season. Obviously, Keuchel wants more than the market has offered him to date, which explains why he’s still out there in mid-April.
As for the desperation noted above, Keuchel’s gone this long without caving, and he’s made more than $30 million in salary over the course of his career. He’ll be fine. The Mets, meantime, are faced with having every game mattering in the hotly contested NL East, and that means Vargas may have made his last start. The other problem is that the Mets don’t have a lot of internal candidates to replace Vargas and provide substantially better innings moving forward.
Given how committed Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is to contending in his first season on the job, getting something done with Keuchel makes a great deal of sense.