The Kansas City Royals were right to target an affordable starting pitcher this winter, but giving Jason Vargas, a fifth starter who might be a No. 4 in the right situation, a four-year deal shows way too much faith in his ability to adapt and survive as a finesse guy -- even though the annual salary ($8 million) isn't that high.
Vargas has spent the bulk of his career pitching in two great environments for fly ball pitchers or for guys with below-average fastballs -- Safeco Field and Angel Stadium. In those two parks, he's thrown 498 2/3 innings with a 3.23 ERA, allowing 50 homers with solid strikeout and walk rates. Everywhere else over the last five years, he's posted a 5.26 ERA in 354 innings, allowing 58 homers with a strikeout rate about a third lower than it was in his two home parks.