Jason Vargas is Handling his Business

By Michael Hllywa

After the huge splash signing that brought Josh Hamilton out to Anaheim, it became quickly apparent to fans that someone had to go. Most of the talk surrounded three players; Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales.

May 19, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Los Angeles Angels pitcher

Jason Vargas

(60) pitches against the Chicago White Sox during the second inning at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Peter and Mark would have brought in the most talent, what with them being highly valuable young players that are years away from free agency. That, however, is the exact reason that you hang onto those players. Not to mention, a large contingent of fans would have shown up under the hats at the Big A with pitchforks and torches ablaze, prepared to burn something down had either of them been traded. Jerry Dipoto, with self-preservation in mind, aware of this new log-jam, decided that Morales would be packing his bags for a trip north. In return, the Angels got Jason Vargas.

Jerry Dipoto brought in Vargas to round out what became an entirely overhauled pitching staff. Which I’m not going to get into since I have no more fine china thanks to Joe Blanton, and have developed a nervous twitch thanks to Ryan Madson. So, what has Vargas done so far in his short time with the Angels? Why, only be the team’s most consistent, full-time, starting pitcher. Cue the stat table…the stat table, cue it…Seriously, what does a guy have to do to get a SIMPLE STAT TABLE INSERTED INTO A…

Thank you. Sheesh.

After his first three starts, Vargas was 0-3 and had an ERA of 6.75. He was looking like anything but a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. In his six starts since, he has dropped his ERA to 3.55 on the season, and the Angels have won five of those last six starts. His only bad start in that span came against, of all teams, the Houston Astros. He also has two complete games under his belt during that span, and is looking every bit like a pitcher that was brought in to stabilize a rotation and eat innings.

During Steve Carlton's Cy Young winning season in 1972, he would say "Today, is win day" everyday in the clubhouse before one of his start's. For the the last five weeks, whenever Jason Vargas has taken the mound, it has been "win day." He was traded for to eat innings, but in Jered Weaver's absence, he has been "doing work" like a de-facto Ace. The rest of this patchwork staff has finally caught up, but thanks to Vargas, the losing streaks haven't been as dreadfully long as they could've been.