The Phillies announced the acquisition of pitcher Jason Vargas and some cash from the Mets. The Mets will receive minor league catcher Austin Bossart in return for Vargas, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.
Vargas, 36, put up a solid 4.01 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 39 walks across 94 1/3 innings for the Mets this season. The lefty is owed the remainder of his $8 million salary and has an $8 million club option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout.
Vargas was famously part of an altercation last month, which also involved manager Mickey Callaway, with beat reporter Tim Healey of Newsday. It will be interesting to learn how much weight, if any at all, the Phillies placed on that when considering acquiring Vargas.
The Phillies’ rotation has been a bit of a mess this season. Everyone has failed to live up to expectations, including ace Aaron Nola. It is not clear yet which pitcher Vargas will replace in the rotation. Zach Eflin, who has struggled immensely as of late, would seem to be the top candidate to get shuffled out, at least temporarily. Vince Velasquez could be jettisoned back to the bullpen again as well.
Bossart, 26, hit .195/.303/.335 with seven home runs and 28 RBI in 236 plate appearances with Double-A Reading this season.
“Mystery Team” is a term invented by Jon Heyman at the 2010 Winter Meetings in Florida. That’s when he published a rumor in Sports Illustrated that then-free agent pitcher Cliff Lee was being courted by “the Texas Rangers, New York Yankees and a third mystery team.” He added — and I am not making this up — that “the mystery team remains a mystery and is also seen as a long shot.” That’s a heck of a line.
The whole “Mystery Team” thing was initially seen as a joke — and by some as Heyman trying to sound plugged in when he didn’t know anything — but he showed all of us when, the very next day, Cliff Lee signed with the Phillies who were, in fact, the “Mystery Team.” With that a meme was born, and Heyman has owned it since then, mostly ironically, but certainly as a part of his personal brand. I’ve long been critical of Heyman for a lot of things, but the “mystery team” thing is kind of fun, actually. Takes some of the seriousness out of all of this. It’s certainly put his own stamp on his beat.
Welp, we got another one today:
I like to poke fun at the concept of “Mystery Team,” but given where the bidding is already, I don’t think that Cole needs a phony rumor of another bidder in order to inflate his market. He’s gonna make bank. As such, I’m willing to believe that there is, in fact, an unnamed team in the bidding.
I feel like we’ll find out soon.