CLEVELAND -- It won't get as much attention as, say, deciding whether to bring back manager Gabe Kapler, but the Phillies face another intriguing decision shortly after the season ends.
Will they keep Jason Vargas or allow him to become a free agent?
Vargas picked up his first win for the Phillies on Saturday night in his 10th start since being acquired from the New York Mets in a July 29 trade. With one start remaining, scheduled for Thursday in Washington, the soft-tossing left-hander is 1-3 with a 5.12 earned-run average in 51 innings for the Phillies, 7-8 with a 4.40 ERA in 145 1/3 innings overall this season.
The Phillies hold an $8 million option or a $2 million buyout on Vargas for next season. Essentially, then, they must decide if the 36-year-old will be worth $6 million as a No. 4-5 starter, a choice that needs to be made within five days after the end of the World Series.
According to Fangraphs’ estimation, Vargas has been valued this season at 1.9 Wins Above Replacement -- or $15.1 million based on the formula that 1 WAR is worth approximately $8 million. But he has not pitched particularly well with the Phillies, failing to reach the sixth inning in four starts and giving up at least four runs in four starts.
The Phillies have to remake their rotation beyond ace Aaron Nola and likely Jake Arrieta, who is under contract for $20 million next year and will be coming off surgery to remove a bone chip from his elbow.
One thing is for sure: Vargas wants to pitch somewhere next year.
"Yeah, I definitely intend to pitch," he said. "I still feel like I'm pretty competitive."
Vargas also needs one victory to become only the 11th active big-league lefty with 100 wins. The club includes CC Sabathia, Jon Lester, Clayton Kershaw, Cole Hamels, David Price, Gio Gonzalez, J.A. Happ, Madison Bumgarner, Francisco Liriano, and Chris Sale.
"I'd definitely like to get it sooner than later, obviously, but I've gone this long without having 100," Vargas said. "It will be nice when it comes and hopefully it comes."
It's too late for Seranthony Dominguez to pitch again for the Phillies this season, but steps are being taken to get him as ready as possible for next year.
Dominguez, who hasn't pitched since June 5 because of a strained ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, threw a bullpen session last week and is due to throw another one Monday. If all goes well, he will throw again from a mound on Thursday and Sunday.
"There's a lot of value in seeing him get to every step and come out strong," manager Gabe Kapler said. "I think it gives him peace of mind, I think it gives the club peace of mind that we worked a strong process and we made good decisions along the way. Every time he comes out of a bullpen, feels good and is prepared to take the next step, it's good for him."
The Phillies have not yet determined if Dominguez will continue throwing after the season either at their spring-training facility or in winter ball.