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Detroit Tigers sign powerful first baseman Kennys Vargas to minor-league deal

Vargas hit 35 home runs in 236 games from 2014 to 2017

Kennys Vargas #30 of the Minnesota Twins at the plate during the Spring Training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field on March 05, 2018 in Clearwater, Florida.
Kennys Vargas #30 of the Minnesota Twins at the plate during the Spring Training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field on March 05, 2018 in Clearwater, Florida. (2018 Mike McGinnis)

DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers have signed another former Minnesota Twins slugger, agreeing to a minor-league deal with Kennys Vargas.

Vargas announced the news on his Instagram page.

The 29-year-old last played in MLB during the 2017 season, when he hit 11 home runs and 13 doubles with a .758 OPS in 78 games.

In parts of four seasons from 2014 to 2017, Vargas posted a .252/.311/.437 slash line with 35 home runs and 38 doubles. He only played in 53, 58, 47 and 78 games those four seasons, respectively.

Vargas was awful in 2015, but his other three partial seasons have all been above average offensively. Here’s a look at his WAR totals for each season.

  • 2014: 0.7 WAR in 53 games
  • 2015: -0.7 WAR in 58 games
  • 2016: 0.6 WAR in 47 games
  • 2017: 0.7 WAR in 78 games

This is a savvy move for the Tigers, as Vargas looks like he could have been around a 2.0 WAR player in a full season’s worth of games in three of his four seasons.

READ: Tigers should try to trade Matt Boyd, prospect to Reds for Nick Senzel, Aristides Aquino

Vargas was released by the Twins on Nov. 2, 2018, and most recently played 120 games in Japan. He hit 11 home runs and 19 doubles while drawing 55 walks in 2019, good for a .775 OPS.

Defensively, Vargas graded out consistently below average in the big leagues.

Detroit will begin the season with fellow signee C.J. Cron at first base and Miguel Cabrera at designated hitter. Vargas will need to impress at spring training and in the minors to get a shot.


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