- The Phillies have acquired Jason Vargas from the Mets for the stretch run
- Philadelphia remains a World Series longshot, with odds of +2400 to win it all
- Is there any reason to back the Phillies?
New York sportswriters were no doubt celebrating Monday evening after news broke that Jason Vargas had been shipped off to Philadelphia.
The quick tempered lefty joins a Phillies squad who sit a game out of the second Wild Card spot in the NL, but despite the move their World Series odds barely budged.
2019 World Series Odds
|Los Angeles Dodgers||+260|
|New York Yankees||+333|
|St. Louis Cardinals||+1800|
|Boston Red Sox||+2200|
*Odds taken 07/29/19.
They remain a significant longshot and their pitching staff is the main reason why. Philadelphia has surrendered the fourth most runs in the NL and unfortunately for Phillies fans, Vargas is not the saviour they’ve been waiting for.
Regression is Coming for Vargas
Two years ago, Vargas won 18 games for the Royals, but he’s not the same pitcher today. At 36, his fastball averages less than 85 MPH and he’s clearly on the back 9 of his career. On paper, his numbers look mediocre at best, but if we dig a little deeper, we see he’s a major candidate for negative regression.
“Throwing really hard isn’t as unique as it used to be…I think I’m the only one that throws that slow” – Jason Vargas on working with less velocity in his arsenal pic.twitter.com/C3xfae7JKh
— SNY (@SNYtv) July 24, 2019
Through 18 starts in 2019, he’s posted the lowest BABIP of his career (.253) while allowing his highest hard hit rate ever (38.4%).
His paltry 7.73 K/9 is right around his career average, but his 3.72 BB/9 is the highest it’s ever been in a season where he’s started at least 14 games.
He’s struggling with his control, but he’s getting bailed out by timely defense and a higher strand rate than normal. That’s not a recipe for success, and it won’t be long before regression smacks him in the face.
Trading for Vargas is a Half Measure
The trade for Vargas carries little risk, but also offers little upside. He’s not a massive upgrade over any starter on Philadelphia’s roster, and it’s not the type of move that puts a team over the top.
The Phillies tried the same thing with Drew Smyly last week, but these are two players that barely raise the team’s ceiling.
Phillies fans when they hear Klentak traded for a pitcher only to find out its Jason Vargas pic.twitter.com/EiWmDhfCtC
— em (@philahype) July 29, 2019
In order for Philadelphia to be a true threat, they need a bonafide starter to pair with Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta, and a journeyman left-hander is not the answer.
Fade the Phillies
As of right now, the Phillies are at best a Wild Card contender and no real threat to the big boys in the NL. They lack the pitching talent and depth to pull off consecutive upsets to reach the World Series, and without a true upgrade to their staff, they have no business being on your betting card.