Phils acquire Vargas from Mets to bolster rotation

The Philadelphia Phillies acquired left-hander Jason Vargas in a trade with the division-rival New York Mets on Monday.

The Mets received minor league catcher Austin Bossart in the deal, and the Phillies could get a boost to a starting rotation that has struggled throughout the season.

The Phillies also received cash considerations. Vargas is owed $2,666,667 of his $8 million salary for the remainder of this season, and his contract includes an $8 million club option for 2020 with a $2 million buyout.

Vargas, 36, is 6-5 with a 4.01 ERA in 19 games — 18 starts — this season. The 14-year veteran got off to a terrible start but has fared better over the past two months, going 5-3 with a 3.34 ERA in his 12 most recent starts.

“Jason Vargas is battle-tested and has been relatively effective for the better part of a decade now,” Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. “He gives his team a chance to win the game every time he takes the ball. I like the fact it’s a different look. He’s a soft-tossing lefty. We have a lot of hard-throwing righties. He’s a good complement to our pitching staff.”

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The Phillies (55-50) are 6½ games behind the first-place Atlanta Braves (62-44) in the National League East, despite entering Monday with a 4.59 combined ERA for starting pitchers, the fifth-worst mark in the league.

The move also marks the second substantial trade in two days for the Mets, who bolstered their pitching depth Sunday by acquiring star right-hander Marcus Stroman from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Vargas made headlines earlier this season when he threatened to fight a reporter during a testy postgame exchange in the clubhouse.

“My first thought was that was so out of character for Jason to be involved in anything like that,” Klentak said. “The guy I knew in Anaheim, it’s just not who he is. He’s not an overbearing personality at all like that. He’s very popular in the clubhouse with everybody. He’s very likable. On the mound, he’s a very hard worker and good teammate. It just didn’t add up.”

ESPN’s Jeff Passan and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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