Gonzalez a free agent after release by Yankees

The New York Yankees lost a well-known name from their organizational depth chart this weekend. Veteran southpaw Gio Gonzalez exercised the opt-out clause in his contract and became a free agent, the Yankees announced Monday.

As it turns out, Gonzalez might not have to look outside New York to find his new employer. The New York Mets, arguably already in need of another starter and now without ace Jacob deGrom in the short term, are scouting Gonzalez’s start Friday night and could have interest if and when he opts out.

Gonzalez joined the Yankees last month on a minor league deal that included $3 million in base salary if he was added to the 40-man roster and a chance to earn $9 million in performance bonuses. He went 2-1 with a 6.00 ERA in three starts covering 15 innings at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. He had 19 strikeouts and six walks.

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While the 2018 season certainly wasn’t one of Gonzalez’s best, he topped 170 innings and 30 starts for the eighth time in the past nine seasons, working to a 4.21 ERA with 7.8 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9 along the way. Gonzalez has averaged 31 starts per season dating back to 2010 and hasn’t made fewer than 27 appearances in a given season since that time.

As recently as 2017, he notched a 2.96 ERA in 201 innings of work, though he did lead the National League in walks that season. Nevertheless, Gonzalez has regularly been an average or better starter in the Majors for the past decade; that strong track record made it nothing short of bewildering to onlookers that he faced such a seemingly minimal market, but he’ll now venture into free agency for a second time with new representation as he looks to find a quick path back to the Major Leagues.

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