Claudio Vargas and Dan Johnson
Yesterday when I saw the post headline on MetsBlog that said “Mets Close to Vargas, Johnson DFA’d” I thought for sure that Jason Vargas was having a splendid comeback from surgery and that Ben Johnson was being released. That Heath Bell deal was starting to sting again.
But alas, it was CLAUDIO Vargas and DAN Johnson that Matt Cerrone was talking about. Most of you know my feelings about Dan Johnson — I like him a lot as a hitter for his strike zone judgment, patience at the plate, and ability to drive the ball. Unfortunately, my opinion hasn’t helped him hit more than .250 in the bigs. And as Matt lamented, if he were a righthanded hitter he’d be a perfect fit for the Mets. Ironically, Johnson hits lefties and righties almost identically (.247 vs lefties; .249 vs. righties). With singles-hitting Carlos Delgado starting out hot, I don’t see a place for Johnson right now. Too bad, I think he’ll be helpful to someone if given the opportunity.
As for Claudio Vargas, I’m completely indifferent. The Mets need an arm — any arm — so I’m glad they’re looking at Vargas. I don’t see him being a savior but also don’t see him as any worse than Brian Lawrence.
But, since I haven’t seen enough of him with my own two eyes, I called on Jeff Sackmann of BrewCrewBall for his opinion:
Vargas is what he is — a back-rotation innings eater, probably more or less what Steve Trachsel is at this point in his career. There’s nothing there waiting to be exploited, but the flip side of that is that I wouldn’t expect him to implode and give you a 7.00 ERA for two months a la Jeff Weaver.
The Brewers just have too much better-than-Vargas starting pitching–even with Vargas gone, we’ve got a tough decision in front of us with Yovani Gallardo coming back from the DL within the next week or two. I’m a little surprised that Claudio hasn’t found a home yet. Maybe he’s holding out for more than the minor league deal with an out clause that a handful of teams are probably offering him.