Blue Jays: Bargains to be had at the back end of the rotation

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 01: Jason Vargas
KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 01: Jason Vargas /
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A couple of lefties

Jason Vargas

Believe it not, Jason Vargas was an All-Star with the Kansas City Royals as recently as last season, so you’d think there would be several suitors lining up to add him to their rotation. As far as the rumour mill is concerned, that hasn’t been the case at all.

When you look at his final numbers, things look even more impressive as he finished with a record of 18-11 and an ERA of 4.16 across 32 starts at 179.2 innings pitched, earning 3.8 WAR in the process. The problem was that it was a tale of two seasons for the 34 year old left-hander, and the second half wasn’t kind to him at all.

After going 12-3 with a 2.62 ERA prior to the All-Star break, Vargas imploded with a 6.38 ERA across 15 starts in the second half. Things soured pretty much across the board, and on another team he may have lost his spot in the rotation.

He would be a gamble to be sure, but he could be a worthwhile one if the signing team gets something closer to the first half version of Vargas than what we saw in the second half.

Jaime Garcia

Another southpaw, Garcia had an interesting 2017 season and probably got pretty good at packing as well. He started the year with the Atlanta Braves, and was traded twice before the non-waiver deadline, first to the Minnesota Twins and then eventually to the New York Yankees.

His numbers aren’t particularly enticing as he was 5-10 with a 4.41 ERA across 27 starts at 157 innings pitched, but he doesn’t have to be an ace to fit the Blue Jays’ needs in 2018. As a fifth starter, he could provide a steady veteran presence who could offer a solid amount of upside and should come on a cheap deal, at least when you consider the market at the moment.

I’m not suggesting that Garcia is the answer, but at just 31 years old and far enough removed from the injury troubles he had back in St. Louis, I wouldn’t be surprised if his addition did the trick for John Gibbons‘ rotation, especially if Aaron Sanchez can stay healthy.