The Mets again appear to have interest in left-hander Gio Gonzalez, Kevin Kernan of the New York Post writes. The Mets are “keeping a close eye on” Gonzalez’s situation, as the southpaw opted out of his minor league contract with the Yankees yesterday, creating a 48-hour window for the Yankees to either add Gonzalez to their 25-man roster or release him.
This isn’t the first time that Gonzalez has been on the Mets’ radar screen, as the Amazins considered signing the veteran hurler in the offseason. Though the Mets and a few other teams were linked to Gonzalez in rumors, the Yankees were “pretty much” the only team to come through with an actual offer, as Gonzalez said last month. That offer was a non-guaranteed deal that would have paid the left-hander $3MM if he had reached the Yankees’ 25-man roster. Despite Luis Severino’s injury, the Yankees seemingly haven’t seen the need to utilize Gonzalez in their pitching staff, and thus it seems as though Gonzalez will hit the open market once more.
As much as the free agent market has been increasingly hostile to veteran players, it was still surprising that Gonzalez wasn’t able to land a Major League contract over the winter. While his peripheral numbers indicated some decline in 2018, the 33-year-old has still been a durable and effective mid-rotation starter for the last nine seasons. Since the start of the 2010 campaign, Gonzalez has posted a 3.49 ERA, 2.37 K/BB rate, and 8.6 K/9 over 1681 1/3 innings for the A’s, Nationals, and Brewers.
Now that the season has begun, however, Gonzalez may have a better shot at a guaranteed deal since teams suffering from early-season pitching woes may be more amenable to such a contract. In the Mets’ case, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported yesterday (Twitter link) that New York is more likely to sign Gonzalez than either Dallas Keuchel or Craig Kimbrel because Gonzalez’s price tag would still be considerably lower than those other two available hurlers. Plus, signing Gonzalez wouldn’t cost the Mets a draft pick, unlike the qualifying offer-rejecting Keuchel and Kimbrel.
Mets starting pitchers have combined for a 5.56 ERA this season, sixth-highest of any team in baseball. Jason Vargas and his 9.58 ERA is the most glaring weak link, though Zack Wheeler and Noah Syndergaard have also struggled, and Steven Matz’s promising early results were stained by a nightmarish outing on Tuesday (six earned runs without a batter retired).