Kennys Vargas, by this point, has proven himself as a major league hitter. He is a slugger capable of about 25 home runs and a .250 average from year to year. He can be a valuable bat off the bench, and is capable of playing first base. The problem is that Vargas is slightly below average for his career as a hitter, while playing a position that demands you hit significantly better than average.
In previous years, when the Twins were bereft of any offensive talent, Vargas would have stood out, and played a regular role on the team. That’s how he appeared in 58 games in 2015. Now, however both Robbie Grossman and Eduardo Escobar offer better offensive production while also providing more defensive flexibility. Nearly any player can cover first base when needed. What does Kennys Vargas offer that the team can’t live without?
Minnesota sent Vargas back to Rochester over the weekend as Ehire Adrianza came back from the disabled list, and there was some consternation over this move. It seems, though, that the public desire for Vargas to be on the Major League roster draws mostly from Vargas’ appearance of someone who should hit for a lot more homers than he does, at 6’5 and 290 pounds.
The Twins get more value from Ehire Adrianza’s defense than they do from Vargas’ offense, and the Twins are going to take advantage of the opportunity to have Adrianza on the roster. Vargas may get another chance to come back to return to the roster if there is an injury, because there is really only one other candidate to be promoted among position players – Zach Granite. After that, though, one has to believe that barring a miracle, 2017 will be the last we have seen of Kennys Vargas in a Twins uniform.
(In another roster move, which just came today, Hector Santiago was placed on the IR because he is “injured” and Alan Busenitz was recalled to take his place)