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Why the Mariners should trade Jason Vargas

First of all, I’d like to say that this will be my last post here at Sodo Mojo. I believe that I’ve grown a lot in my time here, and learned a lot about myself as a writer. While my posting has been infrequent due to school, work, and a personal life, these past few months have taught me to be more motivated. That motivation will show in soon-to-come later work. But it’s just time for me to move on right now.

There seems to be a perception among Mariners fans that our starting rotation talent peaks at Felix, followed by Michael Pineda, Erik Bedard, Jason Vargas, and then Doug Fister. Considering the strength of our rotation, being fourth to Felix, Pineda, and Bedard isn’t that bad. But I’d have to disagree. I believe that Doug Fister is more talented than Jason Vargas, and the numbers back that up over the last two seasons; from 2010 to now, Fister has 5.9 WAR to Vargas’ 3.9.

Despite this, I believe that the market for Vargas may be a bit better. Despite the fact that being left-handed is technically a disadvantage, that has never seemed to stop teams from pursuing even mediocre left-handers based on their ability to throw with their left hand. Vargas is a touch above Mediocre, and is basically on pace to match last year’s 2.6 WAR total. Fister has a perception as more of a finesse guy, which is not as attractive when you throw with your right hand.

Vargas’ value as a trade chip becomes more apparent when considering that, despite entering arbitration, he is under team control for two more years. The Reds, who have gotten a mere 4.7 WAR out of their top three starting pitchers this season, could be a good fit. While that stadium will negate some of Vargas’ value, being left-handed should be able to help him keep the ball in the ballpark against left-handers. Considering that the changeup–a pitch that is known for being effective against opposite handed hitters–is his best pitch, facing right-handers won’t be as big of a problem for him as it would be for other left-handers in that ballpark.

So what is Vargas worth? It’s hard to say. But if Cincinnati asked for Vargas, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to ask for Yonder Alonso in return. The specific name of Alonso doesn’t really matter, but that seems like the type of player Vargas and League could garner–a potential 3 WAR player who still has some big questions to answer. That would still help a team in the Mariners position better than two more years of an expensive Jason Vargas. The Reds could use two years of a 2.5 WAR starting pitcher at $5 million per year more than the Mariners could, given their position.

Finally, I’d like to thank all my readers here at Sodo Mojo. I will be continuing to blog in the very near future, just keep an eye out for me. Link dropping in your last post is just tacky, so I’ll just say that if you like my work, keep track of my twitter account–a flurry of new things are coming! Best of luck to all here at Sodo Mojo, and thanks for reading my work, everyone!

Tags: Doug Fister Erik Bedard Felix Hernandez Jason Vargas Michael Pineda Yonder Alonso

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