The Mets have interest in signing free agent LHP Gio Gonzalez and have remained in touch with his camp, but that interest is not currently at a multiyear level, reports SNY's Andy Martino, who notes that Gonzalez is still holding out for more than a one-year deal.
Martino reported earlier this week that the Mets and Yankees were both still interested in rotation depth, but that neither team was involved in negotations for Wade Miley, who recently signed a one-year deal with the Astros worth $4.5 million.
Because the Mets have their top five rotation spots currently locked in, Martino suggested it could be easier for them to convince a free agent pitcher such as Doug Fister or Brett Anderson to sign and audtion for a "swingman" role than it could be to sign Gonzalez.
The 33-year-old Gonzalez, who is also drawing interest from the Padres, had a 4.21 ERA (4.16 FIP) and 1.44 WHIP in 32 starts (171 innings) last season split between the Nationals and Brewers, while striking out 7.8 batters per nine -- the second-lowest rate of his career.
The top four in the Mets' rotation -- Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz -- is set in stone. The same guarantee and level of trust should not be given to Jason Vargas, but a look at how Vargas performed during the second half in 2018 after a disastrous first half tells a promising story.
After opening the year on the DL and with his ERA sitting at an atrocious 8.60 after allowing seven runs in 2.1 innings on June 19 in Colorado, Vargas rebounded.
From July 27 through the end of the season (11 starts spanning 54.1 innings), Vargas had a 3.81 ERA while allowing 45 hits, striking out 52, and walking just 16.
What it often comes down to with Vargas is that due to how slow he throws, he needs to be incredibly precise with his command in order to succeed.
Vargas' average fastball velocity in 2018 of 86.4 MPH was among the worst in baseball (Wade LeBlanc of the Mariners was the worst, averaging 86.3 MPH with his heater). Gonzalez isn't blowing anyone away with his fastball, but his average fastball velocity in 2018 of 89.8 left him more room for error than Vargas -- and should continue to do so in 2019.
If the Mets and Gonzalez are able to find common ground and agree to a deal, it would mean Vargas being relegated to the bullpen or being traded. The 36-year-old is due $8 million this season, with an $8 million club option for 2020.