Mets LHP Jason Vargas threw a bullpen session Monday in advance of surgery Tuesday to remove the hamate bone in his non-throwing hand.
"It gives me the best opportunity to have a normal hand in a six-week period," Vargas said Monday about the surgery, noting that the injury limits him more at bat and in the field than on the mound. He also added that the surgery will mean there won't be issues when catching a ball.
It was revealed Sunday that Vargas suffered a fracture of the hamate bone on his glove have after being hit with a line drive during a minor league game last Friday.
Vargas, who signed a two-year deal, $16 million deal earlier this offseason, is expected to resume throwing roughly five days after surgery. He told reporters Monday that it's possible he could miss a series of starts to begin the season, but it's also possible he will not.
And this is exactly why signing Vargas was so important, because it added an extra arm in to the mix for depth, while giving Sandy Alderson options and flexibility with his roster.
In the absence of Vargas, Zack Wheeler will likely crack the Opening Day roster as opposed to beginning the season in Triple-A or extended Spring Training. It also means -- fingers crossed, knock on wood -- that Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey and Steven Matz might actually be in the rotation for a full turn at the same time for the first time ever.
Meanwhile, It's worth noting that Alex Cobb is still a free agent and reportedly sifting through a variety of contract offers, none of which I hear are from the Mets.
The only argument in favor of signing Cobb, who is reportedly weighing offers between one and three year and paying him between $10-15 million per season, is fear that Vargas will be out longer than expected. Or that while he's out, someone else in Alderson's rotation gets injured, which is always a distinct possibility given the history of their collective elbows and shoulders.
But, even in that scenario, Robert Gsellman and Seth Lugo can fill in until Vargas is 100 percent able to successfully field a line drive with his glove hand. And, frankly, even if he isn't, he can still take the mound and let any ball hit directly at him go by in to the field.
The point is, Alderson's pitching is fine and not in need of bringing in outside help, despite his No. 3 starter going under a small knife tomorrow afternoon.
Instead, Alderson is far better sitting on the $10-15 million it would cost to get Cobb to have in his wallet come June and July, because -- if the Mets are in contention, as we hope they are -- he's absolutely going to be in the trade market for an extra reliever or position player for his lineup.
In the event Alderson is concerned, he could still offer up a minor-league deal to free-agent pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who I've heard multiple times this winter has expressed interest in reuniting with Mets manager Mickey Callaway, who he credits with saving his career a few years ago in Cleveland.
It's worth noting that Jimenez looked great pitching in relief last season, albeit against just 72 batters. However, during that time on the mound, he struck out 21 batters and walked four as opponents hit just .217 against him.
In signing Jimenez, who would cost very little of Alderson's reserve cash, the Mets could get an extra arm to lean on in case of injury to the rotation, as well as a potential reliever who seems to have a strong appreciation and connection to Callaway. Or, Alderson can sit tight, hope Vargas returns as expected and everyone else remains in what appears to be the best shape of their careers.
Matthew Cerrone (Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Contact) is lead writer of MetsBlog.com, which he created in 2003. He also hosts the MetsBlog Podcast, which you can subscribe to here. His new book, The New York Mets Fans' Bucket List, details 44 things every Mets fan should experience during their lifetime. To check it out, click here!