Why the Cardinals should trade for Jason Vargas
Earlier today we learned via B.J. Rains and Ken Rosenthal that the Mariners were scouting the Cardinals prospect Tyrell Jenkins last night. Also, we learned that the Cardinals have interest in Mariners lefty Jason Vargas as well as Astros lefty Wandy Rodriguez, which we here at STL Cardinal Baseball expected long ago. But I think the Cardinals should turn their attention to Vargas and here is why:
1. He is cheap
Vargas is not a Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, or even a Matt Garza or Ryan Dempster. He plays for one of the worst teams in all of baseball who has no chance at reaching the post season. It will not cost a lot to get him. Sure Tyrell Jenkins is a high up there prospect, but I would rather give him up than let’s say, Shelby Miller, Allen Craig, Matt Adams, Joe Kelly, or any other of the names we have heard whispers of.
2. Not a rental
Why would you waste top prospects like Shelby Miller, Zack Cox, Matt Adams, Joe Kelly, or someone else for just a rental pitcher that you will have for maybe nine starts? It makes no sense at all, it is actually stupid of any team. Most fans want the Cardinals to go all in and acquire a guy like Greinke or Hamels. First of all both of those pitchers when they reach free agency should make north of 100 million dollars, something that the Cardinals just shouldn’t do. Jason Vargas on the other hand is arbitration eligible after this season and could be under team control through 2014. This season Vargas is making a modest salary of 4.5 million dollars. To put that in perspective, Wainwright is making nine million, Westbrook eight, and Lohse just under 13 million a year. So that makes Vargas an interesting chip, as he will be around for at least the next two years. That also allows the Cardinals to let either Lohse or Westbrook at the end of this season.
Like I said before Vargas is not a Hamels or Greinke that is for sure, but Vargas is still a very solid pitcher and the fact that he is a lefty makes him even more impressing. So far this season, Vargas is 9-7, with a 4.09 ERA, and 86 K’s in 132 innings. His only real downside is his league leading 25 homers allowed so far. Vargas has made 20 starts to lead the American League and he is doing it for a team that is 38-53 and that doesn’t score a lot of runs. We have seen this in the past as recently as Doug Fister, when he was traded to the Tigers he had a great second half and helped them reach the post season. I believe that Vargas could be a huge help if we were to acquire him.
4. Bullpen help
If the Cardinals do go for it and acquire Jason Vargas, then they can move either Lance Lynn or Joe Kelly to the bullpen. This will add a strong right handed arm in a bullpen that is currently one of the worst in all of baseball. That makes acquiring Vargas twice as effective, it not only adds a solid starter but helps improve the aching bullpen. I think we all know the importance of the bullpen, without the Rasmus trade of last season the Cardinals would have never reached the post season.
I think the Cardinals should turn their focus to acquiring Jason Vargas of the Mariners. He is an effective pitcher that won’t cost a lot of prospects or talent and he will be kept under team control for a few more seasons. It makes perfect sense to make this trade as it will not only help the rotation and the bullpen but the future of the organization. So, Mozeliak if you are reading this, listen to me and make this trade!