Free Agent Replacements
While the Mets are unlikely to make any more moves this offseason, there are a few free agents still on the market who would make perfect replacements for Vargas in the rotation.
The free agent who makes the most sense for the Mets to sign is lefty Gio Gonzalez. A long-time member of the Washington Nationals, Gonzalez has been an effective pitcher over his career, and his numbers are even better in Citi Field.
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Against the Mets in their home ballpark, Gonzalez has a 1.75 ERA in 108 innings, along with 99 strikeouts and a 1.000 WHIP.
This signing makes too much sense to not happen. Gonzalez has been lights-out at Citi Field over his career and would be relatively cheap compared to other left-handed free agents. Earlier in the offseason, there were rumors about a possible deal between the Mets and Gonzalez, but there was a disagreement regarding the length of the contract, and discussions were ended.
Another free agent that would be a perfect fit in the Mets’ rotation is Dallas Keuchel. However, it is extremely unlikely that the team will spend the money to sign him.
Spotrac.com projects Keuchel’s market value to be roughly $22.3 million per year over five years. Signing him would still leave the Mets well under the luxury tax threshold for 2019, but it would put the team over its self-imposed budget.
Keuchel is a left-handed pitcher who has won an American League Cy Young award and has a plethora of postseason experience. His addition would put the Mets’ starting rotation over the edge.
He is coming off a 12-11 season in which he had 153 strikeouts and a 3.74 ERA. He would make a fantastic replacement in the rotation, leaving the Mets with no weak spots, but this is unlikely to come about.
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The Mets have committed to Jason Vargas as the fifth starter in the rotation. Many fans are unhappy with this, but for all we know he can completely turn around this season. In the case that he doesn’t, the four players previously mentioned would be the most suitable replacements.