The Padres have been connected to a number of high-profile names over the past week — Manny Machado, Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto — and MLB.com’s Jon Morosi now adds that they’re also considering free-agent lefty Gio Gonzalez. The Mets, too, have maintained contact with Scott Boras regarding Gonzalez, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports (via Twitter).
Gonzalez, 33, has made 31 or more starts in all but one season dating back to 2010, with the lone exception being a 2014 campaign in which he took the ball 27 times. Last season, in 171 innings between the Nationals and Brewers, the two-time All-Star logged a respectable 4.21 ERA but did so with his lowest K/9 (7.8) and highest BB/9 (4.2) marks since cementing himself as a big league starter. Of course, a year prior, Gonzalez tossed 201 innings of 2.96 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.
Earlier this winter, the Padres were linked more to younger rotation options, as their goal at the time appeared to be to add a pitcher on a multi-year deal who’d still be in his prime during San Diego’s return to contention. Gonzalez may not fit that bill, though it’s also quite possible that like many other free agents, his asking price has dropped. And, it’d be easy enough for the Padres to fit Gonzalez into their rotation picture, given the general lack of experience among the team’s current rotation options. San Diego has numerous young options with more upside than Gonzalez, but Gonzalez is one of the most reliable sources starts remaining on the open market and could thus help to stabilize that young group.
As for the Mets, Puma notes that they’re debating internally whether he’s enough of an upgrade over in-house options. Certainly, Gonzalez would appear to be an upgrade over Jason Vargas, although Vargas is owed $8MM this season, which would likely be a factor to consider when potentially displacing him. Beyond that, it’s worth noting that each of Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Zack Wheeler spent time on the disabled list last season. The Mets’ rotation is quite talented, though health has long been an issue for the collective group, and depth beyond the team’s top quintet is thin, too.
It’s been a quiet winter on the Gonzalez front, with few known suitors beyond today’s pairing, although the Brewers were mentioned as a possibility by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Tom Haudricourt just yesterday.