I guess those doomsday Twins fans can let out a sigh of relief. The next David Ortiz is back with the Twins.
Vargas was an odd fit for the Reds because they already had Joey Votto entrenched at first base and without a DH spot in the lineup, his only value was going to come from pinch-hitting. However, it turns out the Reds actually wanted Vargas as Triple-A depth, but instead the Twins chose to bring him back. He was originally designated for assignment just a few days before Jorge Polanco’s suspension was announced, so perhaps the Twins wouldn’t have sent him packing had they known about Polanco earlier. However, I think they also reclaimed him specifically to do what the Reds attempted to do, which is send him down to Triple-A as organizational depth, because he’s not getting much playing time while Joe Mauer and Logan Morrison are healthy and productive.
Vargas is a career .252/.311/.437 hitter (100 wRC+) while making 236 appearances over the past four seasons. He’s had excellent walk rates and passable strikeout rates in the minors, but in the majors he only drew walks at a significantly above-average clip in 2016 and has always struggled with the whiffs. For being “the next David Ortiz” in some fans’ eyes, I think it’s telling that the entire National League and most of the American League chose to pass on acquiring Vargas. Power is easily obtained now and every team likely has a Vargas in their organization already.