According to reports, Gio Gonzalez accepted a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. The deal was $2.3 million (prorated) with an additional $2 million possible in performance bonuses. He will soon rejoin the Brewers rotation.
Aside from the money, there were a few reasons why Gonzalez opted to sign with the Brewers. First, he was guaranteed a spot in the rotation. Second, he did pitch with Milwaukee at the end of last season, which game him some familiarity and comfort with Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
Of course, Counsell treated Gonzalez like a five inning pitcher, and he pulled him after just three innings in the NLCS.
With respect to the Mets, Andy Martino of SNY reported the Mets still want to stick with Jason Vargas in the rotation, and as such, were offering Gonzalez a spot in the bullpen. Mike Puma of the New York Post reported the Mets saw Gonzalez to be a “marginal upgrade over Vargas at best.”
So far this year, So far this year, Vargas is 1-0 with a 9.58 ERA, 2.323 WHIP, and a 0.86 BB/K, and batters are hitting .362/.444/.660 off of him.
Since the 2017 All Star Break, Vargas has a 6.25 ERA, 1.543 WHIP, and a 2.08 K/BB, and batters are hitting .288/.357/.516 off of him.
For his part, Gonzalez was 10-11 last year with a 4.57 ERA, 1.342 WHIP, and a 7.8 K/9. After a tough first start in Triple-A, he rebounded to just allow two earned over his next two starts while striking out 18 over 11.0 innings pitched.
Somehow, we’re supposed to believe Gonzalez being a credible Major League starter is not that much of an upgrade over a pitcher throwing in the mid 80s who makes every hitter look like Nolan Arenado at the plate.
In the end, this is the Mets being tied to one of Brodie Van Wagenen’s former clients and sticking by a pitcher they owe $10 million this year. They’re sticking by him despite all objective criteria indicating Gonzalez is the far superior pitcher. They’re sticking by him even if it costs them a chance to win the division.