Van Wagenen: Mets Giving Vargas 'Leash' To Turn Things Around

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By WFAN Sports Radio 101.9 FM/66AM New York
By WFAN.com

Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said he's giving struggling pitcher Jason Vargas "the leash and the rope to go out and pitch well." But that doesn't mean his commitment to the 36-year-old left-hander is limitless.

Talking to WFAN's Mike Francesa on Wednesday, Van Wagenen defended Vargas, who has a 14.21 ERA over three appearances this season. In his last start, he retired just one batter and allowed four runs before being pulled.

"We think that Jason Vargas, with his track record and even some of the conversations that we've had with him here so far, he's got fire, he's got passion, he's got confidence that he can go out and do the job," Van Wagenen said. "And we're going to continue to ride him."

When asked if he had a number of starts in mind before he'd give up on Vargas if he doesn't turn things around, Van Wagenen said rather vaguely he'd stick with him "as long as he's competitive and giving us a chance."

Jason VargasBrett Davis/USA TODAY Images

The GM added that he believes the Mets (10-8) have options within the organization if they need to make a change at the No. 5 starter, including Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman, among others.

"I do think we have some guys that we can roll out -- call them sixth, seventh, eighth starters, whatever they need to be," Van Wagenen said.

But as good as the Mets' bats have been this season, their pitching problems extend beyond Vargas. The team has a 5.65 ERA, worst in the National League. Both the rotation and the bullpen have struggled.

Van Wagenen said he's not panicking.

"Look, I think that this team was built on good starting pitching," he said. "We added some key pieces to the bullpen this year. We don't have an overriding concern with any stretch of the imagination about where our starting pitching's going to be or our bullpen's going to be.

"I think that every one of those guys has had a hiccup or two, as have a lot of guys around baseball at this point."

DEGROM START PUSHED BACK: Ace Jacob deGrom is dealing with strep throat, forcing the Mets to push back his scheduled start Friday at St. Louis to Saturday. "We just wanted to make sure before we run him out there that he's strong and good to go," Van Wagenen said. Vargas will start Friday's game.

To listen to the interview, in which Van Wagenen and Francesa talk about a wide ranger of topics involving the Mets, click on the audio player above.

Listen to Mets games this season on the team's new flagship station -- our sister station -- WCBS 880 AM.