As some of you might have imagined, I’m Mexican, born and raised in Tijuana, and like every person of Mexican decent, I want my country men to be successful at whatever they do.
This spring I noticed that the San Diego Padres signed a free agent by the name of Cesar Vargas. After I found out his nationality, I was even more excited to see if he would make the team. He started the season in San Antonio (Double-A) and was an effective pitcher for the Missions. He got called-up to the majors where he has been a surprise to many, but certainly not to himself.
Vargas was born in one of Mexico’s most beautiful cities, Puebla. His nickname is “El Calmado”, which means “easy-going” or “calm”. He was signed at the very early age of 17 by the New York Yankees. When he first started playing in the Yankees’ minor league system, like every teenager, he had his ups and downs. However Vargas never got down on himself. He is a very confident young man and doesn’t ride the emotional roller coaster as many young pitchers do.
So… Where has he been? As I stated before, he started with the Yankees organization at age 17. He played in their minor league system from 2009 to 2015. He reached Triple-A last season, but the Yanks didn’t see enough from “El Calmado” to retain him.
There are times in life when all a player needs is a change of scenery and that is what Vargas got. He was signed by the Padres and moved to San Diego, just minutes away from his native Mexico. He has been solid for most of his outings except for his last one when he got killed by the all-mighty Cubs, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of. There are a good team and sometimes things like that happen.
The Padres have numerous fans south of the border, and whenever there’s a Mexican player on the Padres, fans in Tijuana will go to Petco to cheer for their country man. The Padres have a tradition of having Mexican players on the roster, whether it was Fernando Valenzuela, Vinny Castilla or Adrian Gonzalez. Mexican fans always make the effort to go see their own countrymen play ball.
We will see if Vargas is a diamond in the rough or a flash in the pan very soon. Only time will tell what kind of pitcher the young man is, but one thing is clear, he has Mexican fans excited and that is a good thing for the Friars organization. After all, the Padres do have fans on both sides of the border.
I hope that Vargas is here to stay, he seems to have the demeanor of a major league pitcher. Maybe the support of his people can propel him to become a solid rotation pitcher for the Padres for years to come.