Is Dillon Gee’s Season Over?

If you haven’t already heard, Dillon Gee suffered another setback in his struggle to return to the mound from a latissimus dorsi injury. This is his second setback, and the latest report is that Gee will be out for at least several more weeks — and there is no timetable for his return.

With so much mystery and lack of information about this injury, the next question is: will Dillon Gee return at all in 2014?

This isn’t being over-dramatic — it’s a very fair question. First off, as you may already know, Gee has a serious shoulder injury in his history — he was diagnosed with a partially torn labrum in May 2010, while he was still in AAA. Gee elected not to have surgery and rehab instead. We don’t know why that injury occurred in the first place (mechanical flaw?), and we don’t know for sure if the injury ever fully healed. All we know is that he began pitching in MLB with a pre-existing condition, which means that if he has any kind of issue in that general area, extreme care must be taken.

Considering that the latissimus dorsi is an extremely large muscle in the back that connects to the shoulder, this is a major concern. I’m not surprised that the Mets have been as quiet as possible about the injury — have you even thought about Gee over the last two weeks? — but I’m stunned by the lack of questions and reporting by the media. Are beat writers so focused on the obvious — the lack of timely hitting and late-inning losses — that they’ve completely glazed over the fact that Gee has been out for an entire month, and his return can only be described as “indefinite”? Since when do New York writers accept vagueness when an injury occurs to a team’s ace starter? Dillon Gee WAS the de facto ace prior to his DL stint, wasn’t he? Well, maybe Jonathon Niese is/was the de facto ace. But regardless, when a team’s strength is starting pitching, their main chance for success is because of that strength, and one of their top starters goes down, well, you’d expect a bit more attention paid to the subject.

In any case, Gee is still hurt, and this is smelling a LOT like other seemingly “minor” injuries to top players from the past few years. Remember when Jose Reyes‘ 2009 leg injury was “day to day“? Remember, that same year (and month), when Carlos Delgado was “day to day“? And J.J. Putz, for that matter — another pitcher who had an injury history in the area that made his DL stint indefinite? It’s funny how history repeats itself, ain’t it? Five years ago, many thought I was some kind of Chicken Little or a dramatist looking to get cheap click-throughs. But if you’ve been here a while, you know what’s discussed here is reality. And in the case of Dillon Gee, there’s major concern with this lat issue.

Yes, in 2009, Omar Minaya was the GM, and now it’s Sandy Alderson. But the medical staff is the same. More importantly, the people paying the medical staff, and controlling the public message, is the same. I don’t want to put blame on the trainers and/or doctors, because I don’t know how much influence they have, and I don’t know how much of their findings and recommendations have been shared publicly. This is more about what has been communicated by the team, rather than blaming people. The 2009 season was perhaps the nadir of bungled medical communications, but nothing’s changed since — issues with Carlos Beltran, Johan Santana, David Wright, various players with concussions, etc., etc., have reared their ugly heads over the years.

Gee’s injury is a concern, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it’s been downplayed at a time when the team is reeling and interest in it is waning.

For your own information, and in an effort to get some kind of clarity about Gee’s injury, I spoke with sport kinesiologist Angel Borrelli. She would not go on record to say that Gee’s season is over, and she never would — it’s not her style to be a harbinger of negativity. However, she did share all she knows about the latissimus dorsi, its role in the pitching motion, and some things that should and shouldn’t be done to prevent injury. You can listen to the interview below, or, if for some reason it’s not working in your browser, try listening on BlogTalkRadio.

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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. meticated June 10, 2014 at 8:51 am
    perhaps it’s a matter of erring on the side of caution…why re injure him when the team is sinking fast…The Mets management knows fully we aren’t competitive this year, in spite of their pronouncements about winning 90…The fans have petty much thrown in the towel regarding attendance…Collins is a dead man walking.’s just a matter of time…I predict an August beheading…DW is towing the corporate line but it can’t help his production being on a team of rookies and weak sisters…The vaunted farm system is not the hitter factory as we all saw plainly…pitchers as well are no guarantee of success without a balanced lineup. ..compared to the rest of the major leagues…we stink…Astros, cubs, pirates, even Marlins have their own rising stars apparently…so what’s to look forward to…Duda. .CY…Tejada. ..Teagarden. ..Granderson looks like he’s on the downside and quick on the skids..The Wilpon’s will clutch the reins till death due us part…I could go on ad nauseum…I’m just glad it’s merely a spectator sport…and not life.
    • argonbunnies June 10, 2014 at 9:31 am
      As much as the lineup can be painful to watch, and as many hard throwers as the Mets have, guess which one the Mets are below average at, scoring runs or preventing them?

      Runs scored per game: 8th out of 15 NL teams.
      Runs allowed per game: 9th out of 15 NL teams.

      The NL has averaged 3.64 earned runs allowed, 0.38 unearned runs allowed, and 4.02 runs scored.

      The Mets, playing their home games in a pitchers’ park, have averaged 3.70 earned runs allowed, 0.38 unearned runs allowed, and 4.00 runs scored.

      By OPS, Mets hitters have been terrible — second worst to San Diego. And yet, they’ve scored runs. One might think they’ve been clutch… but then they’re 8-17 in one-run games.

      Maybe that’s not on the offense, though — the Mets lead the league with 16 relief losses.

  2. argonbunnies June 10, 2014 at 9:03 am
    I wish someone would interview a recently retired major leaguer about injury procedure. Something in the Mets’ process, from player to trainer to doctor to GM to manager, has been broken for a very long time. I wasn’t really worried about Gee, figuring that if he was all set to try to pitch with it then it couldn’t be that bad… and then you had to go remind me of the Reyes injury, Joe.

    Actually, most of the truly epic injury-mishandlings I recall occurred before Alderson’s arrival. For the last 3.5 years, I feel like it’s more been the garden variety MLB bungling… mostly around pitchers’ arms.

    I guess we’ll see if they give Gee enough time to properly rest and strengthen everything that needs to be rested and strengthened. Probably not. He’ll probably be back on a mound as soon as the acute pain is gone, and then he’ll reinjure himself in a rehab start. Come on, Mets, prove me wrong!

  3. meticated June 10, 2014 at 9:07 am
    and excuse me for restating the obvious….!!
  4. Walnutz15 June 10, 2014 at 9:17 am
    Boy, we’ve really been through a lot together – Joe.

    *holds hands in unison*

    “Keep smilin’, keep shinin’…….knowing you can always count on me………..for sure – that’s what friends are for!!”


    • Joe Janish June 10, 2014 at 5:12 pm
      So true. Where did the years go?

      Every once in a while I go through the MT archives for one reason or another, and, it’s amazin’ how the theme has not varied very much. A random post written in 2007 could very easily be plausible in 2014, if only the names of the players are changed.

      And by the way, since this blog began in late 2005, there are over 5,000 posts and close to 30,000 comments. Holy crap. No wonder I’m feeling bleary-eyed and exhausted with the Mets. I need to check in with my friends Greg and Jason at Faith and Fear and see where their heads are at.

  5. argonbunnies June 10, 2014 at 9:40 am
    I did some digging on the Mets’ clutchness. Here’s what I found.

    One of my favorite stats is WPA (win probability added) which is all about situational performance. Here are the Mets’ biggest culprits with the game on the line:

    Travis d’Arnaud -1.8
    Jenrry Mejia -1.5
    Gonzalez Germen -0.7
    Wilmer Flores -0.7
    Kyle Farnsworth -0.5
    Jose Valverde -0.5
    Zack Wheeler -0.5
    Rafael Montero -0.5
    Josh Satin -0.5

    And here are the Mets’ best:

    Daniel Murphy 0.9
    Lucas Duda 0.5
    Curtis Granderson 0.5
    Juan Lagares 0.5
    Omar Quintanilla 0.5 (all 3 of his RBIs came in 1-run victories)
    Carlos Torres 0.5
    Jon Niese 0.4

    Mostly, the players who’ve been good have been good in the clutch, and the players who’ve been bad have been bad in the clutch. Still, d’Arnaud’s -1.8 WPA in >150 PAs is hard to do — that’s a lot of DPs with the tying run in scoring position — and not a single player on the Mets has truly stepped up and been hot in big spots.

    The biggest problem right this second is Mejia — over his last 4 appearances, he’s gotten 7 outs, allowed 7 hits, and walked 3, most of this with a game on the line.

    • Dan42 June 10, 2014 at 10:51 am
      I suspect that there is something wrong with Mejia, after pitching in both ends of the May 25 DH he pitched twice with 1 day rest, followed by no rest on May 30 for 12 pitches, 2 hits and 1 walk with no outs for the loss. Since then he’s been terrible.

      Wasn’t he concerned about getting injured if used in relief?

    • DaveSchneck June 10, 2014 at 4:47 pm
      Yes, the Mets banished Farnsworth, Lannan, and Valverde, and now have Mejia, Familia, and Black. All is grand in Metville with three young power arms at the back end of the pen. Except for one minor detail – these guys actually have to do it over a period of time. They may, and they may not, but in the mean time, Alderson has once again built a bottom of the league bullpen. The Mets have lost 21 games already in which they held a lead, worst in the majors. Collins certainly hasn’t shown that he can use a pen properly, especially managing for his life, but the GM has given him table scraps to work with. They still need a reliable veteran closer in the pen, in addition to Parnell whenever he comes back. They can’t do it with all kids. Bottom line is that this is another sign of cheapness, not some grand plan.
  6. DanB June 10, 2014 at 9:49 am
    Sorry for being off topic, but I have been thinking about the Met’s philosophy of rebuilding by acquiring young pitchers. Three years ago people on this blog were wondering if young pitching was being over valued despite people saying you needed young pitching to win (or because so many people were saying it, it was a sign it was being over valued). Now the Mets have a lot of good young pitchers but then again, so do a lot of teams. Imagine if the Mets were rebuilding by acquiring young hitters? Every team, now, seems to be looking for hitting. The Mets would of been ahead of everyone. For all the credit Alderson gets for his “Moneyball” approach of finding under valued players, he is often behind the crowd reacting. His misjudging of the free agent market is awful. The Mets need leadership that is ahead of everyone rather then continuosly misjudging the player markets.
    • Joe Janish June 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm
      Agreed — deciding to stockpile young pitching was hardly an original thought. The whole idea of Moneyball is that you are valuing skills others aren’t. Maybe the Mets were ahead of the game in terms of the extreme shifting / deep positioning of Daniel Murphy at 2B. Maybe their moneyball “secret” is running the bases without thought. But as far as acquiring talent based on something no one else is valuing … well, that’s not happening. I proposed YEARS AGO that the next under-valued skills would be raw speed and defense, and that it made sense for the Mets to acquire both for their new big park. Instead, Alderson acquires / values un-athletic guys who might do well in a bandbox on an Adulterated League team, but otherwise useless. I think he greatly underestimated the PEDs factor, and how much it affected the way both the game was/is played and individual player performance. When 50+ guys in each league are hitting 20+ homers a year, that covers up a LOT of mistakes. Fundies and all-around skills matter again, and Alderson and Co. are far behind on that realization.
      • DanB June 10, 2014 at 9:36 pm
        Remember when Alderson complained he couldn’t trade Hairston because all he could get back was low A prospects? What did we say here? Let’s trade low A prospects for outfielders who can hit homeruns then! Imagine if Beltran, Reyes, Hairston, Byrd, Dickey, etc.. were all traded for mostly position player prospects? The Mets would still have Harvey, Neese, Gee, and a couple of our pitching prospects AND a lineup! When the Red Sox won, we were told the Mets would sign midlevel free agents like the Red Sox did. This off season we were told we would build like St.Louis. If the next World Series team all had wild mustaches and beards, I bet we sign Brian Wilson. We are being led by a rear view mirror.
  7. Gene June 10, 2014 at 2:01 pm
    Bottom line is that the Mets stink, from the Manager down to the batboy. I’ve been a Mets fan since the mid 60s, and I’ve seen great times, good times, lousy times, and horrible times. Right now I see lousy times on the brink of horrible times.

    I’m old school and I have issue with constant pitching changes to get one out, and a lack of pushing your greatest talent (pitching) to pitch 7/8/9 innings with accountability. It seems to me that today’s managers are wimps. They apparently have come to the conclusion that today’s players are wimps as well. Terry Collins fits this mold to the tee. Example: My starting pitcher is pitching a 4 hit game with a one run lead in the 6th inning, and he walks the first man, then gives up a one-out single to put men on 1st and 2nd base. Usually Collins’ decision is to get that starter out to bring in a less-talented reliever to try to kill the rally. I’ve seen it time and time again. Problem: His relievers can’t get the job done, so he goes from reliever to reliever to reliever to hopefully get the 2nd/3rd out. What’s wrong with letting your young starter be accountable for the base runners he allowed and let him figure out how to deal with a not-so-good situation that he technically created. Let your starters grow in real-life conflicts. Collins continues to bail out his pitchers in time of distress but fails to hold those pitchers accountable for their lack of effort, lack of concentration, or the attitude that “I’ve pitched 6 innings and it’s time for me to hit the showers”. I go back to the day when a starting lineup played the entire game unless there was extra innings involved, and I’m not referring to one or two extra innings. Apparently our manager is not confident in his team or who he puts out on the field since his starting players change game to game. And, how much can you play a player that doesn’t produce i.e Chris Young, Jason Bay from 2012, simply because management signed the players to lucrative contracts without doing their homework. Chris Young sucks but he continues to start and get ABs while the young unproven future players sit on the bench…I’m sure they can do as well if not better.

    So, again, Bottom line is that the team is horrible if the manager is horrible. Maybe there should be a complete overhaul before July. That would still give the Mets a chance to hit that goal of winning 90 games this 2014 season ( I’m chuckling here). There is enough talent on this team to be at .500 at this point even with the injuries. The Mets need leadership and discipline.