Minnesota Twins: Kennys Vargas set to join Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan
By Nate Palmer
The Minnesota Twins will say goodbye to an era of home runs and smiles from Kennys Vargas as he set to play baseball in Japan.
The Minnesota Twins have watched, coached, and hoped for Kennys Vargas to develop into a player that they could regularly plug into their starting lineup. There has always been fear from fans of the Twins in any way dropping him off of the roster and Vargas emerging as Big Papi Jr. with another club. Tuesday word began to surface that the day has arrived in which Vargas will be joining another club, it will just be in Japan.
After being released from the Rochester Red Wings on November 2nd, Vargas has signed to play with Chiba Lotte Marines. A move to Japan has always seemed like a logical fit for the slugging switch-hitter. It is now a reality as Vargas looks to be getting a $1.5 million pay day with his new club.
Vargas has always been a polarizing player during his time in the Twins system. He signed with the Twins as an amateur free agent in 2009 and made his debut with the GCL Twins later that year. As mentioned earlier, his size and stature combined with his ability to destroy baseballs with his bat drew him plenty of comparisons to David Ortiz.
As Vargas made his way through the minor leagues and eventually to the Twins in 2014, we would constantly see flashes of the amazing power hitter within him. Each time he stepped up to the plate you could just imagine his bat launching one of his 35 career home runs over the fence or a ball hit hard enough and in the right place for one of his 38 career doubles.
What was frustrating about Vargas is that he never did so with any sort of consistency. He was the definition of a streaky hitter. He would generally start out very well after a call up from Triple-A Rochester, but the longer he stuck around the majors it seems the less and less effective he became.
Vargas ends his major league career with the Twins after playing in 236 games over four years. His slash line was .252/.311/.437 with a .748 OPS. We will likely always wonder what could have or should have been with Vargas, but with the log jam of 1B/DH talent the Twins have performing similarly to Vargas it was simply time.
Vargas will have a chance to go remake himself and learn more about himself in Japan. Going overseas is something many players have found success doing in the past. Maybe he will reemerge like Eric Thames did in his return from playing in Korea in 2017 and similarly take the league by storm with his power. Good luck, and thank you for those towering home runs Kennys Vargas!