If dealt, what could he fetch and who could be in the market?
A month into the season, very few teams are willing to go ahead and punt; even the Cincinnati Reds are just three games out at this point. The usual suspects will no doubt line up—Baltimore, Seattle, Colorado—as well as the Red Sox or Dodgers or Giants if an arm went down at the inopportune time.
As for what… well, we’ll get to that later. There’s a bit of a spectrum.
What might it cost to hang on to him?
If I really, truly thought Vargas was the guy he’s been through four starts in 2017, I’d hand out “3 years, $36 million” and never really worry about it again.
If I didn’t (and I don’t), I’d probably do exactly what the Phillies did for Jeremy Hellickson last year; make a qualifying offer and dare him to take the short-term payday over the long-term security, which leads to…
How’s the new CBA factor in to all of this?
Teams can’t make a qualifying offer to a player who has already received one, so that would, at best, be kicking the can down the road for a season. And if Vargas got the long-term deal he sought, the KC Royals would get either a third-round pick in the next draft (if Vargy signed with a team that hadn’t gone over the $195 million luxury tax threshold) or a second and fifth rounder if one of the already obscenely-wealthy teams gave him a contract.