Many tough choices are going to be made at Kauffman Stadium over the next few months. Jason Vargas is the first one we’ll make here for the KC Royals.
Player: Jason Vargas
Agent: CAA Sports (Nez Balelo)
Career Numbers: 70-71, 4.12 ERA, 220 games (200 starts), 833 strikeouts (6.0 K/9), 359 walks (2.32 K/BB), 4.26 FIP/95 ERA+/1.300 WHIP
Importance: No. 4 starter
History of Success
So this part is sort of a mixed bag.
When Vargas first popped on the radar, it was as an upper-tier prospect for the Miami (then Florida) Marlins. He made 13 starts in 2005, finishing eighth in what may be the worst NL rookie class ever (Willy Taveras and Jeff Francoeur finished second and third, respectively), but rode the Miami-to-Albuquerque shuttle for most of 2006 and was dealt that offseason to the Mets.
(Rare is the time teams trade someone they think could become valuable to a division rival. Warrants mentioning.)
After working his way to New York, Vargas made two starts before his body self-destructed; he had a bone spur removed from his elbow that October and another the following March to repair a torn labrum. Having seen enough, the Mets dealt Vargas to the Mariners, where he finally enjoyed a full-season breakout in 2010—9-12, 3.78 ERA, 2.15 K/BB. He was a full-fledged rotational piece for three seasons in Seattle before being shipped to Anaheim in 2013 for Kendrys Morales.
He did one season for LA’s second-favorite baseball team before departing for America’s Heartland.