Jason Vargas plans to return from the injured list Saturday afternoon to start for the Mets against the Tigers, and you know what that means:

It’s time to contemplate other options for the Mets’ starting rotation.

(Yes, to be fair, the soft-throwing lefty had been pitching somewhat better, putting together a 3.00 ERA in four starts totaling 18 innings, before his left hamstring acted up. How long do you think that’ll last, though?)

A couple of hours after Vargas toes the rubber at Citi Field, Anthony Kay will do the same for Double-A Binghamton against Trenton. So he’s aligned to replace Vargas whenever the Mets want.

Should the Mets want that? With their schedule about to intensify, would the Mets be best served by promoting their top-performing pitching prospect — their 2016 compensatory draft pick, 31st overall, for letting Daniel Murphy sign with the Nationals — all the way to the big leagues?

Based on conversations with talent evaluators and some old-fashioned common sense, my answer is no. Let the young man keep developing. Don’t thrust him into the middle of a long-shot pennant chase.