MLB Trade Deadline: Jordan Lyles and Jason Vargas have been dealt by the Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Mets, respectively, with Lyles being sent by the Pirates to the Milwaukee Brewers, and Vargas being sent by the Mets to the Philadelphia Phillies.
These trades are lumped together for me because they are not terribly good veteran starting pitchers who were sent to contenders looking for warm bodies that wouldn’t cost much in the way of talent. For Lyles, the Brewers gave up Cody Ponce, a 25 year old righthanded reliever who is a prospect of sorts, but who is in his third go-round at AA.
Lyles has a 5.36 ERA and a 4.81 FIP this year in 82.1 IP over 17 starts. I thought maybe he had been pitching better of late and thus was more attractive to a buyer than the stats appeared, but no...in four July starts, he’s gotten out of the second inning only twice, and has allowed 23 runs in 12 IP, including 8 home runs. Lyles did have success out of the bullpen for Milwaukee last year, so maybe there’s a familiarity aspect that makes him appealing to the Brew Crew. Also, he’s making only $2.05 million this year.
For Vargas, who has a 4.01 ERA and a 4.71 FIP in 94.1 IP this year, the Phillies sent the Mets AA catcher Austin Bossart. Bossart is 26 and has a 638 OPS in AA this year, and I can’t see anything that suggests he’s anything more than organizational depth. The Mets are also sending the Phillies $2 million in this deal. Vargas has a team option for 2020 at $8 million, with a $2 million buyout, and so while he isn’t really good, he’d cost just $6 million to bring back for 2020, so now I’m sitting here wondering if it wouldn’t have been worth sending the Phillies Juremi Profar to have Vargas soak up some innings the rest of the year and possibly fill a rotation spot for 2020.