TODAY'S PAPER
Good Morning
Good Morning
SportsBaseballMets

Jason Vargas wins, hopes to be a Met after trade deadline

Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas walks to the

Mets starting pitcher Jason Vargas walks to the dugout after being taken out of the game during the sixth inning against the Pirates in a game at Citi Field on Sunday. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Add Jason Vargas to the list of Mets who say they hope to be with the team when the trade deadline passes at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

But Vargas’ potential exit interview Sunday also could be interpreted as an endorsement for remaining in New York and pitching for the team in that other borough.

“Playing in New York City is the mecca of sports,’’ Vargas said after allowing three runs in 5 2⁄3 innings as the Mets beat the Pirates, 8-7, at Citi Field to complete a three-game sweep.

“To say that you would want to play somewhere else, I think anybody would be fooling themselves,’’ said Vargas (6-5), who has won three straight decisions. “It’s a fantastic place to play. The lights aren’t brighter anywhere else. There’s a much different buzz than anywhere [else] in the country.’’

Vargas is far from the top-of-the-rotation starter the Yankees covet. But with hoped-for Marcus Stroman instead en route to the Mets and the Yankees’ entire rotation in a slide, might he be a fit?

The 36-year-old lefthander, who will be a free agent after the season, would be an inexpensive rental — the remainder of an $8.5 million deal. He has a team option/buyout for 2020. 

Vargas, who has a 4.01 ERA in 20 starts, has allowed more than three earned runs in only one of his last 16 starts and has compiled a 3.28 ERA in that span.

“He’s a valuable piece of what we’re doing right now,’’ manager Mickey Callaway said. “He’s been pitching really well all season. He is a leader . . . He’s a pro’s pro and I’m glad he’s on our team.’’

Vargas allowed six hits and struck out five against the Pirates.  Jacob Stallings homered off him in the third inning for the Pirates’ first hit of the game.

Vargas left to applause from the crowd when he was removed in the sixth.

“It’s been a great time pitching here for me,’’ he said. “A rough beginning [in 2018]. I probably deserved some of the criticism that I got just because I was supposed to be counted on and I really didn’t do my job.

“To bounce back and get the affirmation that the fans believe in you and that they’re thankful for the effort that you stuck with it, I don’t know if there’s a much nicer thing than to hear the fans cheer for you in New York City.’’

Right now, Vargas hopes that continues in Flushing. “Those types of things aren’t up to me,’’ he said. “There’s a lot more that goes into just wanting to stay somewhere. We’re playing some nice baseball right now. Hopefully we continue to do that.

“Just being taken away from friends that you made and family that you’ve put together and gone through and had ups and downs with. So [being traded] is not something that I would ever look forward to, or ask to do. We’re playing well now and we want to continue to do that, and hopefully I can be a part of that.’’

New York Sports