Mariners fix Carlos Vargas' walk issues, giving them another high leverage option
A lot of fans might not be too excited about Vargas, he was acquired in the trade that sent Geno to Arizona. This trade cost the Mariners an everyday third baseman and showed that ownership wasn't going to commit a very big increase in salary, if any, for the 2024 team.
With the loss of Paul Sewald, the Mariners had an obvious need for a high-leverage arm this offseason. They have acquired a few solid depth arms that we hope will break out and become the Paul Sewald, Justin Topa type of bullpen arm the Mariners have shown they can find. Carlos Vargas is going to be that arm for the Mariners in 2024.
Vargas arm talent is elite! He threw just 33 fastballs in 2023, but his average velocity was 99.4 mph. He also has what is being called a cutter by baseball savant, but I think it is more of a slider. He threw that pitch 30 times, averaging 91.7 mph and an insane 46.2 whiff rate. The issue that Mariners need to solve is his control. In 2023 at AAA for the Diamondbacks, he had a 6.8 BB/9 and in just 4.2 innings in the major leagues he issued four walks. The Mariners will fix his walk issues this season (he won't post a sub two BB/9, but he doesn't need to) and he will be somewhere in the four BB/9, while posting a K/9 over 10. Vargas will work his way into the number three or four role as next high leverage option for Scott Servais.