The Mets officially announced the signing of starting pitcher Jason Vargas earlier today in Port St Lucie, and subsequently placed infielder T.J. Rivera on the 60-day disabled list, opening a spot on the 40-man roster for Vargas.
Rivera, a native of the Bronx, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Mets in 2011. He made his Major League debut in 2016. Last season, Rivera appeared in 73 games with the Mets prior to hitting the disabled list with a torn right ulnar collateral ligament, which required Tommy John surgery to correct. Prior to his injury, Rivera hit 5 home runs, slugged .430, and put up a 103 wRC+.
Rivera, who had surgery on September 14th, is already rehabbing his elbow, and should be eligible to return as early as May.
Once healthy, Rivera’s playing time is likely to be more limited in 2018, due to the signings of infielders Jose Reyes, Adrian Gonzalez, and Todd Frazier. Last season, Reynolds started 25 games at third base, 17 at first base, eight at second base, and one in left field.
The 40-man roster crunch has been a source of activity for the Mets this offseason, losing Chasen Bradford to the Mariners on a waiver claim, as well as trading LHP Josh Smoker and infielder Matt Reynolds to the Pirates and Nationals, respectively.
The Vargas contract is for two years, plus a team option for 2020, worth $16 million plus incentives.