LHP Jason Vargas, who agreed last week to a two-year deal worth $16 million, cited the rest of the starting rotation as one of the reasons he signed with the Mets, and said pitching after Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard could have its benefits.
"I knew that they battled a few injuries last year," Vargas said Wednesday night on Mets Hot Stove on SNY. "But you take that chance and you bank on people being healthy when you look at those decisions."
"I sure hope guys are getting speeded up and then I get to slow them down," he added about slotting in behind Syndergaard and deGrom. "We're way different."
Vargas also discussed the influence of new Mets pitching coach Dave Eiland, who was with him last season with the Royals.
"He's really helped my consistency as far as just fine-tuning those little things that keep you together in your delivery," Vargas said. "Just being able to stay over the pitching rubber and be able to get your arm in the right position. The small things that really pay off when it comes to making pitches."
The 35-year-old Vargas was terrific during the first half last season but struggled in the second half. And he thinks he has fixed the issues that plagued him.
"I was doing some things early in the year and got away from them -- started to get exposed," Vargas said. "I just wasn't commanding the bottom half of the strike zone, especially down and away to right-handed hitters. When we really took the time to clean that up and get that under control, we seemed to get the results back that we were looking for."
Vargas had a 4.16 ERA (4.67 FIP) and 1.33 WHIP with 134 strikeouts in 179.2 innings (32 starts) in 2017. He has a career ERA of 4.16, to go along with a 1.31 WHIP during his 12-year career.
He is expected to be joined by deGrom, Syndergaard, and likely Matt Harvey and Steven Matz in the starting rotation.