Dayton tends to strike early in the off-season and when we got word there was a press-conference scheduled for 4 p.m. this afternoon for a "major" baseball announcement, we feared the worst. In the end, it looks like it will be for a perfectly cromulent transaction as the Twitter is reporting the Royals have signed thirty year-old southpaw Jason Vargas to a four year $32 million deal.
Vargas was 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA in 24 starts with the Angels last year with 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings, a career best in a full season. In eight Major League seasons he has a 4.30 ERA in 174 games with about 6 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Vargas is a southern California native and a former Long Beach State "Dirtbag" who was a second round pick by the Marlins in 2004. He bounced around in trades to the Mets and Mariners, before settling down in Seattle and winning a career high 14 games in 2012 with a 3.85 ERA and 3.1 WAR. Following that year, he was dealt to the Angels for slugger Kendrys Morales where he posted a 1.8 WAR last year. He also missed some time with a blood clot in his armpit.
Vargas has outperformed his FIP the last five seasons, which has been at or above 4.00. He struggles with the longball, giving up 1.45 HR per nine innings in 2012 in spacious Safeco Field. Vargas has one of the better changeups in the big leagues, but is unable to break 90 on the radar gun. He likes to throw the change-up away from lefties, but this has led to not much of a split - lefties hit an OPS of .701 compared to .745 for righties for his career.
$32 million. Good thing we saved up all that Meche Money.