As Jason Vargas takes the hill in St. Louis against the Cardinals on Friday night, the Mets will be scouting his potential replacement.
The Mets will be in hand in Buffalo as Gio Gonzalez -- who SNY's Andy Martino reported is "increasingly likely" to opt out of his deal with the Yankees on Saturday -- starts for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.
Martino added that the Mets seem more open to adding Gonzalez now than in the offseason, when they weren't interested.
If Gonzalez opts out of his deal with the Yankees, they will have 48 hours to add him to the major league roster or lose him.
On Friday, Gonzalez switched agents from Scott Boras to CAA, with Martino saying the move was intended to set him up with representation that he felt more comfortable with.
The deal Gonzalez signed with the Yankees was loaded with incentives, with him set to make $300,000 per start if called up from the minors. It's not clear what kind of deal Gonzalez will be seeking if he becomes a free agent again.
The 33-year-old Gonzalez got crushed in his first start this season in Triple-A, allowing eight runs in four innings, but has pitched very well since then.
He tossed 6.0 shutout innings on April 9 while allowing three hits, walking one and striking out 10. On April 14, he went 5.0 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits while walking two and striking out eight.
Gonzalez isn't the same pitcher he was during his best stretch, which came between 2010 and 2015, but he had a 2.96 ERA and 1.17 WHIP ias recently as 2017. Last season, he had a 4.21 ERA (4.16 WHIP) with 148 strikeouts in 171 innings (32 starts) for the Nationals and Brewers.
While Gonzalez isn't at the height of his powers anymore, he wouild almost certainly be an upgrade over Vargas, who danced in and out of trouble in his first start, got torched in relief between his first and second start, and then allowed four runs in just 1/3 of an inning before being pulled in his last start.
Vargas' unsightly numbers this season: 14.21 ERA and 2.84 WHIP in 6.1 innings. If he gets rocked again on Friday night, it will be impossible for the Mets to justfiy starting him again -- potentially opening the door for Gonzalez.