The Mets have "solid interest" in signing free agent LHP Jason Vargas, who pitched under new pitcing coach Dave Eiland last season with the Royals, reports Mike Puma of the NY Post, who said the team also had interest in LHP Jaime Garcia.
However, the 31-year-old Garcia signed with the Blue Jays late Thursday afternoon on a one-year deal worth $8 million.
Vargas, 35, remains on the board. He had a 4.16 ERA (4.67 FIP) and 1.33 WHIP with 134 strikeouts in 179.2 innings (32 starts) in 2017.
Mets assistant GM John Ricco said Wednesday morning on MLB Network Radio that the team is still interested in adding starting pitching.
"We're monitoring the pitching market," Ricco said. "I think it's no secret we're still interested in bringing in possibly another arm or two. So, even in the next few weeks, we're going to be continuing to see how that develops."
Meanwhile, GM Sandy Alderson told MLB.com that regardless of outside opinions to the contrary, he's "not convinced" the Mets need to add more pitching.
It was reported last week that the Mets haven't yet had "meaningful discussions" regarding free agent RHPs Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, but may "jump in," according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
Rosenthal noted, however, that the Mets may instead seek a lower-tier starter. Among the pitchers available in the tier below Cobb and Lynn are Vargas, Garcia, and RHPs Ubaldo Jimenez, R.A. Dickey, and Jeremy Hellickson.
If the Mets sign Cobb or Lynn, who both rejected qualifying offers, they will be forced to surrender their second round pick in the upcoming MLB Draft, along with $500,000 in international bonus pool money.
Lynn, 30, had a 3.43 ERA and 1.22 WHIP with 153 strikeouts in 186.1 innings (33 starts) last season for the Cardinals.
Roughly seven teams have shown interest in Lynn, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Cobb, 30, had a 3.66 ERA and 1.22 WHIP wit 128 strikeouts in 179.1 innings (29 starts) last season for the Rays.
Mets GM Sandy Alderson said last Wednesday that the team was likelier to pursue a pitcher than a position player as they round out their roster.
"I think as long as the market is what it is, you've got to constantly keep your eyes open," Alderson said. "I think right now we're probably more curious about pitching than we are about position players."
The Mets are expected to enter this season with a starting rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Steven Matz, and Zack Wheeler. Aside from deGrom, all of the above pitchers dealt with serious injury issues last season.