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Orioles ‘poking around’ on Jason Vargas

Jul 12, 2012, 6:02 PM EDT

Jason Vargas AP

Like a kid checking out a dead frog with a sharp stick, I presume.

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported Thursday that the Orioles are now shying away from Matt Garza and are “poking around on” Seattle’s Jason Vargas as they attempt to upgrade their starting pitching.

Hopefully, this is nothing more than due diligence. Vargas has been a pretty solid starting pitching for Seattle, but he wouldn’t work in Camden Yards or the AL East. Vargas has a 5.09 ERA outside of Safeco this year and has allowed a whopping 17 homers in 69 innings on the road. Overall, he’s allowed 23 homers, which leads the majors by three. Just his road total alone would rank tied for fifth in all of baseball.

Also, look at his career record against American League East teams:

Boston: 1-2, 3.51 ERA
New York: 0-3, 6.55 ERA
Tampa Bay: 1-3, 3.82 ERA
Toronto: 0-3, 6.49 ERA

Overall, he’s 2-11 with a 5.01 ERA against AL East teams other than Baltimore. Just counting the road outings, he’s  1-6 with a 7.08 ERA.

Vargas may not be entirely a Safeco creation — he did have a decent enough 3.79 ERA in 13 road starts last year — but it’s doubtful he’d be more than a fringe fifth starter for an AL East team. Put him in Camden Yards and Orioles fans may start longing for Jake Arrieta again soon enough.

  1. watermelon1 - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    What ever happened to that whole pursuit of Zach Greinke? Guess Baltimore just wasn’t serious enough to offer some real value in exchange for the pitcher they need.

    Then again, they haven’t exactly been hitting all that well lately either. Hopefully Markakis’s return will spark something. And hopefully they find a way to keep Xavier Avery in there for the speed, which this team lacks so badly.

    • borninfellspoint - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:30 PM

      Not sure the O’s have what it takes to get Greinke.I would like to see them trade for Dempster& Soriano. (if the cubs will eat 70% of Alfonso’s contract) I agree that Vargas wont be a good fit in Bmore,but you never know a change might be good for Jason.

  2. kkolchak - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Maybe the Orioles are conceding to reality that although improved they need a lot more than just one starting pitcher to be a real contender.

    • borninfellspoint - Jul 12, 2012 at 11:31 PM

      well said!

  3. cheers4ablumpkin - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Matt garza

  4. proudlycanadian - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:55 PM

    Go ahead. Trade for him. I double dog dare you. (a phrase from my childhood)

  5. pisano - Jul 12, 2012 at 6:59 PM

    I don’t blame the O’s for trying to upgrade and contend, I’ve always thought Buck was a good manager, but Jason Vargas will only get his ass pounded in the AL east. Look at his stats in the AL east, not real impressive.

  6. dowhatifeellike - Jul 12, 2012 at 7:43 PM

    You have to give value to get value. If the O’s like what they have better than Garza then fine, but you can’t just go into deals thinking you’re going to get more than you give. They’ve hit on some good trades in the past (Bedard, Guthrie) but nobody knew that going into it.

  7. retief1954 - Jul 12, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    Vargas is a nice soft-tosser who can work hitters pretty effectively if his control is good. But, he’s a younger version of Jamie Moyer (even Moyer from 10 yrs ago). He works right on the edge, and if he isn’t just right, balls start flying out of the park and he gets cuffed around. Such is the sorry state of the Seattle Mariners, that he’s our no. 2 starter. I’d readily give him up for one great prospect, maybe two if we could persuade the O’s or some other improving team to part with them. But that’s just dreaming.

  8. denny65 - Jul 13, 2012 at 4:18 AM

    Vargas is not going anywhere; even Jack Z. is not that dumb. The Ms starting rotation consists of Vargas, Hernandez and the designated 36-year-old/Japanese long-reliever of the moment and a pitcher to be named later.

    Until the current crop of phenoms make it up through the system–Hultzen, et al–Jason is a Mariner.

    • easports82 - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:33 AM

      While obviously a downgrade, M’s could bring up Beaven to fill the spot. Probably going to look to bring Noesi back (if he gets his stuff straightened out) towards the end of the season too. Vargas is pretty expendable and if he can bring back a prospect or two which can hit average (upgrade for the M’s), so long Jason!

  9. bmorelikeme - Jul 13, 2012 at 9:27 AM

    I agree the the O’s probably don’t have the ammo to deal for Greinke type (I’m in the Machado/Bundy are untouchable camp), but I don’t think Vargas is a good fit. I’m under the impression he is a fly ball pitcher, which works out alot better in spacious Safeco than the Yard, especially with AL east lineups. I’d hope to go after a Garza or Wandy Rodriguez if possible.

    However, I actually trust the O’s GM for once and I’m glad to hear Baltimore popping up repeatedly in trade rumors. Refreshing stuff out of the Warehouse.

    • natstowngreg - Jul 13, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Not just that the Orioles are in a position to be a buyer. It’s also refreshing that Angelos actually might allow his GM to acquire talent for the pennant race.

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