Why Phillies went the Jason Vargas route 2 days before trade deadline


Updated: 6:05 p.m.

The Phillies have traded for a starting pitcher. It remains to be seen how much of an upgrade he will provide.

The Phils acquired veteran lefty Jason Vargas from the New York Mets on Monday afternoon. Vargas, 36, is 14-year veteran. He has pitched to a 4.01 ERA in 94 1/3 innings this season.

The Phils are sending 26-year-old catcher Austin Bossart, a Penn product, to the Mets. Bossart had been playing at Double A Reading. He is considered a good defender but was hitting just .195 in 200 at-bats.

Vargas is owed about $2.7 million for the remainder of this season. He has an $8 million option or a $2 million buyout next season. The Phillies are also getting money from the Mets in the deal.

Vargas is expected to go into a Phillies’ rotation that just recently added a lefty in Drew Smyly. Whether that means Vince Velasquez goes back to the bullpen or Zach Eflin fills a role other than starter remains to be seen. Jake Arrieta’s spot in the rotation could also be a possibility as he has been pitching with a bone spur in his elbow. Arrieta has said he plans to continue to pitch, but he has experienced discomfort lately.

It’s not a shock that the Phillies picked up a pitcher on the downside of his career. Team officials have indicated that they are not willing to give up the prospects it would take to get top-of-the-line starting pitching. The Phillies, 6 ½ games back in the NL East and a game back in the wild card race, prefer to hang on to their top prospects.

To make room for Vargas on the 40-man roster, the Phillies designated reliever Yacksel Rios for assignment.

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