February 14, 2007

Vargas Grateful For Trade

Ben Shpigel at the NY Times writes about Jason Vargas and why he feels that the trade to bring him to New York was a blessing:

Vargas has pursued his passion with an almost single-minded motivation. He attended two high schools and three colleges searching for the right fit before soaring through the Florida Marlins system to make his major-league debut in 2005 at age 22, barely a year out of Long Beach State. He watches video and consults weekly with a former pitching coach and plays winter ball and trains like a fiend because he knows only how to become better.

But there's another side to Vargas. He pays attention, but only to what he can control. So when asked Wednesday what he thought of the other eight pitchers competing for three slots in the Mets rotation, Vargas nodded, as if he had the response figured out, and said that he did not learn that the team had signed Chan Ho Park until three days after it happened.

"I know there's a good group of guys and that it’s going to be competitive," he said. "After that, I can't worry about it."

That group also comprises two bonus-baby prospects (Mike Pelfrey and Philip Humber), two playoff-tested young pitchers (John Maine and Oliver Perez), two veterans (Park and Aaron Sele) and two enigmatic right-handers (Jorge Sosa and Alay Soler). Unless they implode this spring, Maine and PĂ©rez are favorites, leaving Vargas — the only left-hander — and the rest to vie for the final one.

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