Mets trade Jason Vargas to Phillies

Jason Vargas #44 of the New York Mets pitches during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citi Field on July 28, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Phillies bolstered their beleaguered rotation. Left-hander Jason Vargas was acquired from the New York Mets on Monday for Double-A catcher Austin Bossart.

The 36-year-old Vargas is 6-5 with a 4.01 ERA, winning his last three starts. He became expendable when the Mets acquired right-hander Marcus Stroman from Toronto on Sunday night for a pair of pitching prospects.

Vargas could start Friday night against the Chicago White Sox on normal four days' rest. Zach Eflin, who is scheduled to pitch that night, has a 10.46 ERA in his last six starts.

Vargas is owed $2,666,667 of his $8 million salary for the remainder of this season, and his contract includes an $8 million club option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout. He receives a $250,000 assignment bonus.

New York agreed to pay $666,667 to the Phillies to offset part of Vargas' 2019 salary, with $333,333 payable Sept. 2 and $333,334 on Oct. 1, and $250,000 to offset the assignment bonus. In addition, the Mets will pay $2 million in 2020 to offset the salary or the buyout.

The Phillies were off Monday after losing two of three to the NL East-leading Braves and falling 7½ games behind. But they're only one game back second the second NL wild card heading into a three-game series against San Francisco starting Tuesday.

Vargas' ERA would be second to Aaron Nola on Philadelphia's staff and his WHIP (1.27) would rank first. Opponents are batting just .228 against Vargas despite a fastball that averages just 85 mph.

Vargas is 98-95 with a 4.26 ERA in 266 starts and 21 relief appearances with five big league teams. He won 18 games for the Royals in 2017 and was part of their World Series championship team in 2015.

Vargas and Mets manager Mickey Callaway were fined by the team last month for their profanity-filled confrontation with a reporter following a loss to the Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The 26-year-old Bossart is hitting .195 with seven homers and 28 RBIs at Reading of the Eastern League. He was a 14th-round pick in the 2015 amateur draft from the University of Pennsylvania.


AP Baseball Writer Ronald Blum in New York contributed to this report.