Dillon Gee Will Wind Up In Texas This Week

Fearless prediction: Dillon Gee will wind up in Texas before the end of the winter meetings. And I have rock-solid information to support it.

There is buzz that the Mets are shopping Gee to — among other teams — the Texas Rangers, and the Rangers are reportedly listening, as they need pitching. Additionally, though there haven’t been any rumors suggesting it, I bet the Astros would have interest in Gee, for a few reasons. First off, they seem to like “good clubhouse guys” like Scott Feldman, and Gee would be a good fit in providing an example to the youngsters on their pitching staff. Second, one of their starters, Brad Peacock, had minor hip surgery in October and won’t be ready at the start of spring training — which means, he can’t necessarily be counted on to be ready when the season starts. Further to that point, I wonder if Houston would consider moving Peacock to the bullpen. The righthander has had middling results as a MLB starter, but he might be able to get his velocity back up to the mid-90s in a relief role; that, plus culling his repertoire down to only two pitches, could make him an effective late-inning guy — something the Astros are looking to add this winter. Just an idea.

But there’s a bigger reason I believe Gee will be in Texas this week: he lives there, in Cleburne, per the Mets Media Guide. And his dad is a fireman in Fort Worth. So, I’m guessing that there’s a really good chance that Dillon Gee will be in Texas, if not now, then for the holidays. I can’t confirm it one way or the other, but the info is solid, don’t you agree?

As for whether Gee will be traded to a Texas-based MLB club, well, there are the two possibilities mentioned above. Calm down about the Rangers, though — chances are slim that Gee will bring back Elvis Andrus or Jurickson Profar. Maybe a PACKAGE that includes Gee and a few others could net one of the Rangers’ young shortstops, but be prepared to also lose someone like Noah Syndegaard, Zack Wheeler, or Jacob deGrom.

Why is Gee being shopped by the Mets? It’s all about the Benjamins, folks (or is it the Pentiums?). Sandy Alderson has confirmed that payroll will be at $100M or below — and most likely, the latter. “But Gee doesn’t make all that much money,” you point out — and you’re right. But he is due for a raise through the arbitration process, and likely will receive a salary of around $5M next year. That doesn’t seem like much compared to his teammates, but that’s part of why he’s the one being shopped. In a perfect world, the Mets would shed the $11M due to Bartolo Colon in 2015. Unfortunately, few MLB teams want to take on that kind of dough for the portly pitcher — his weight and age make him risky. Fellow starter Jon Niese will make $7M, and is controllable through 2018, but his injury issues and rapidly decreasing velocity are scaring off possible suitors. With six projected starters for five spots, the Mets would like to subtract payroll via that potential surplus, and Gee appears to be their best bet in dumping salary.

Interesting, isn’t it? The New York Mets — supposedly targeting 2015 as “the year,” with their manager publicly announcing that the team is playoff-bound — are looking to dump $5M in salary. Oh, and try to get under $100M in payroll. Do any Mets fans find this upsetting?

On paper, it makes sense. Dillon Gee was not so wonderful last year, struggling in the second half and dealing with a mysterious lat injury — now would seem to be the time to cut bait, especially with a seeming surplus of starting pitching. But is there really a surplus?

The “surplus” is based on the following theories:

1. Matt Harvey will return 100% and be ready by Opening Day
2. Bartolo Colon will continue to defy all odds and remain healthy, despite his age, health, and dangerous mechanics
3. Jonathon Niese’s year-long shoulder problem and the mechanical flaw that caused it, didn’t really happen — or will magically disappear after a winter of rest
4. Zack Wheeler’s dangerous mechanical flaw won’t catch up to him in 2015
5. Jacob deGrom will be as good as he was in his magical rookie season, and the UCL he had surgically repaired in 2010 won’t be re-injured by his mechanical flaw
6. Noah Syndegaard is going to be as good as advertised, and healthy, despite being inconsistent in AAA in 2014 and suffering a flexor pronator strain
7. Rafael Montero is nearly as good as everyone attached to the Mets seems to believe

Granted, all of the above concerns are just that — concerns. There’s a good chance that Wheeler and deGrom won’t have any arm problems whatsoever in 2015. As for Colon, Niese, Syndegaard, and Harvey, I’m not so sure. And looking at this list, the Mets have the kind of depth that many other MLB teams would cherish. But that doesn’t mean it makes sense to dump salary, does it? Hey, if the Mets get a valuable asset that will contribute in 2015, then I get it. If what they receive is salary relief combined with someone who may or may not make the club at some point in 2016 or beyond, I’m not sure such a move is consistent with the message that the Mets are looking to reach the playoffs in 2015. Unless, of course, they don’t believe Gee can be part of what gets them there. Me, I think every team with postseason hopes should have as much pitching depth as possible, and if they trade any of their MLB-ready depth, it should be for MLB-ready talent.

What’s your thought? Am I off-base? Do you think my concerns are exaggerated? If you’re a Mets fan, are you fine with keeping under a $100M payroll for 2015? Why or why not? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Dave December 9, 2014 at 2:42 pm
    If you treat those 7 events as 50-50 coin flips, the most likely outcome is that we’re left with 3.5 really good pitchers, along with Matt Bowman or Steve Matz. That’s assuming the events are 50-50 events. In reality the chance of any one of those things going wrong is a lot lower, and our surplus is really a surplus. You only need five pitchers at a time.
  2. Chris December 9, 2014 at 2:46 pm
    I could see Gee getting traded to the Rangers for Michael Choice. He had a terrible year last year (.182/.250/.320) but is a cost controlled right-handed outfield bat, something the Mets need when Cuddyer spells Duda at 1st against lefties. Not to mention as a former top prospect he still has considerable power potential, though he needs to curb the strikeouts.
    • Joe Janish December 9, 2014 at 3:00 pm
      That’s a good call. Michael Choice would be a good … um … choice …

      Seriously, he would fit the bill as a cheap, RH-hitting corner OF. If the Mets dump Gee for Choice, that makes sense to me.

  3. dansj December 9, 2014 at 2:52 pm
    Certainly there will be some hiccups throughout the year, and you don’t want to trade all your depth just to dump salary, but that doesn’t mean you keep a 6th starter without any specific role for him in the bullpen. No shortage of spot-starters when pitchers hit the DL: Mejia has shown he can start, as well as Montero (he’s shown less than Mejia). So there’s plenty of room for optimism. Also, you seem preoccupied with mechanical flaws. How did these guys become professional pitchers, anyway??
    • Joe Janish December 9, 2014 at 3:10 pm
      A team with playoff hopes generally doesn’t try to trade away a proven MLB starting pitcher in return for something that won’t help in the near-term. Further, I think the Mets’ stance that they have six starters is shady, because they’re counting on Harvey, and as of this moment, no one knows for certain if Harvey can pitch in 2015. Wouldn’t a playoff-bound team want to be sure of his health before trading away the most-certain backup plan?

      As for my preoccupation with mechanical flaws, I’m guessing this is your first time here. Thank you for visiting. Check out the MetsToday home page and scroll to the bottom, under “Baseball Instruction,” to learn more about my obsession with pitchers’ health and frustration with MLB’s stone-age mentality regarding science.

      What does being a professional pitcher have to do with whether one has mechanical flaws? Every single one of them became a pro based primarily on one factor: they could throw 90+ MPH. Throwing with that velocity can happen with efficiency or with inefficiency, and in almost all cases, it’s with inefficiency. There is an epidemic of UCL tears and shoulder injuries over the past several years, and science can explain them better than former MLBers who think playing basketball in the offseason is the antidote.

  4. hart December 9, 2014 at 4:28 pm
    If they were legitimately looking to trade Gee in order to upgrade the team, so be it; but if the real motivation is just to shed salary, then we’re still operating with the same small-market mindset, which is completely unacceptable, and they should sell the damn team already. Unfortunately, I fear it’s the latter. I was briefly excited that the Cuddyer signing was the beginning of a move toward being a competitive franchise again. Next step was doing what was necessary to acquire a bonafide shortstop. But then they didn’t even get in on the Hanley conversation, and started spinning Flores as a legitimate SS option — essentially pissing down our backs and telling us it’s raining. Well, don’t expect us back at the ballpark with all that “rain” coming down.
  5. LetsGo Mets December 9, 2014 at 4:53 pm
    I would welcome a trade of Dillon Gee because it would be a good situation for him and the club. I’ll miss his talent and competitiveness as pitchers that pitch are always entertaining to watch and are most effective when complemented with power arms, of course. I wonder, however, if a larger package of other players would ultimately return more in value for the Mets than a one-for-one deal.
  6. Vilos December 9, 2014 at 5:35 pm
    A straight salary dump is unaceptable.

    A salary dump in exchange for any kind of useful/valuable player is up for discusion.

    Just a quick question: if they were to keep all six starters, and all six were to arrive healthy to opening day, how would they manage? at first they would probably send somebody to the bullpen, and then eventually they would try to push a trade. So, which is better: a salary dump for a useful player now or eventually having to push a trade in the near future?

    • Joe Janish December 9, 2014 at 5:42 pm
      First off, I like the idea of a 6-man rotation — IF starters are told to stay off the mound for the first 4 days after their starts. They’d get proper rest as recommended by science, they’d get the option to throw a tune-up bullpen session on day 5, and be ready to pitch on day 6. With that kind of routine, starters would be able to pitch deeper in games, likely be more effective, and therefore eliminate the need for so many relievers. But, it’ll never happen.

      I would argue that trading an extra starter at the end of March / beginning of April would net a better package than swapping one now. There is always someone in need of a starter in the spring — more than 50% of season-ending pitching injuries occur between the beginning of spring training and the end of May.

      • Vilos December 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm
        The six man rotation sounds good. Isnt that what they do in Japan? I agree its not going to happen just yet.

        If what you say is true (50% of season ending injuries occur before june), then it seems like a no brianer. A salary dump today is unaceptable unless it brings back more than it would in may. (definately more than the Ike Davis trade)

  7. DanB December 9, 2014 at 5:55 pm
    I believe the Met’s payroll will be under $100 million next year. The issue is that it will be $15 million under $100 million. Alderson can talk all he wants about winning. I see nothing in the manner they do business to disprove they are attempting to build a team for $90 million that is in the running for the wild card one game play-in and hope for the best. I have no respect in that approach.
  8. ThebuckstopsMets December 9, 2014 at 6:03 pm
    Hi, I am indeed disturbed by the talk of salary dumping. The patience of we Mets fans has been severely tested and it is time for team management to put up or shut up. When you believe you have a chance to be a playoff contender, isn’t more talent better. I guarantee that if performance on the field even hints of playoff contention, the CitiField attendance increase will more than pay for Troy Tutolowski. Remember Fred, when you traded for Gary Carter in 1985, attendance from 1984-1985 increased 918,000 when the Mets finished 2nd. Other than from 1968-1969 when the team went from 9th to 1st, in years when they turned the corner and became competitive contenders, the team average attendance increased 531,000 each year at the old Shea Stadium. Assuming the current stadium has about 80% the capacity, if the team could actually contend through September, the team could reasonably expect an attendance increase of around 425,000. With average ticket prices of around $53, that could spin-off $22.5M in incremental revenue just from tickets sales, not to mention concessions, etc.. That could cover Gee and Tutolowski (fantasy baseball). So it is time for Fred to act like he did when the team was successful and invest in success and bring meaningful October baseball back to Flushing. History has shown, that the fans will follow, quickly.
  9. argonbunnies December 9, 2014 at 9:11 pm
    I was very sad to hear Sandy’s talk that the budget would not increase. If you combine that with his statements that he’s looking for a LOOGY and a RH back-up bat, that means a salary dump is coming. This is completely incompatible with the rhetoric about contending in 2015.

    If the Mets admitted they were more geared toward 2016, then maybe the players could continue to grow and look forward… but as is, everyone is just going to feel like a disappointment and a failure this year. I feel bad for Collins; once things turn ugly, he’ll probably be blamed, despite the fact that the fault lies with ownership’s cheapness and Alderson’s spin. The 2015 Mets, with or without Craig Breslow, simply are not a playoff team.

    As for Gee, I imagine the Mets will continue their trend under Alderson of reactive selling low, rather than proactive selling high. Gee looked like a bona fide #3 after 2013, the Mets weren’t going anywhere in 2014, but they held onto him. Now he’s coming off a bad year, and they’re ready to dump him because it’s the easiest way to save $5 mil. Pathetic.

    Since Gee has zero leverage in trade talks, the fact that he’s from Texas is irrelevant to his destination. The Mets will trade him where they want to trade him. If the Rangers or Astros were on a mission to collect Texas natives, then okay, the guess would make sense, but I don’t think that they are.

    I am guessing that most trade partners would rather pay Colon $5 mil than Gee, because Bartolo is more of a known quantity. That’s the trade I’d push for — Colon + $6 mil to whoever offers the best return. And yeah, I’d prefer to package him with anyone else the Mets can trade, to get back superior talent, rather than acquiring minor league filler. But I’m pretty sure Sandy’s not pursuing that.

    As for whether the Mets have pitching surplus, I think they do, in that they have some guys who are blocking other guys of comparable talent. Surely someone will get injured, but unless there’s a huge rash of that, it won’t matter to the 2015 Mets which of Wheeler, Niese, Colon, Gee, Montero, Syndergaard or Matz logs the most innings.

    Since the talk of 2015 contention is just lies and optimism, it does make sense to trade from surplus for players who can help the Mets in the future. I see plenty of things wrong with this scenario, but “getting back prospects” is not one of them.

  10. david December 10, 2014 at 12:55 am
    Gee and Plawecki for Profar is something I could live with, but giving away Gee to save money would be DUMB and the fans know it. I expect Sandy to peddle his bike real hard and put a bigger and better deal together if he expects to have a job come July.