Should Dillon Gee Pitch One More Inning?
Going into the final two games of the season, the biggest Mets story may be Dillon Gee falling one frame short of 200 innings.
Per Gee’s regular throwing schedule, Sunday would be a “throw day” / bullpen session. Should he be given the ball for one inning against the Brewers in game 162 to achieve his goal?
Here’s what loyal MetsToday visitor and commenter “argonbunnies” had this to say:
… Even if it doesn’t actually matter when it comes to winning baseball games, players are more proud of hitting .300 than .299. Round numbers are satisfying, and that’s that’s not just to the athlete, but also to the athlete’s entire culture — fans, friends, teammates, agents, etc.
Collins would have to be deaf, blind and dumb not to realize this. So I guess he just doesn’t care.
This would be okay if he always operated that way, but he hasn’t. He’s allowed stars like Wright, Reyes and Santana to dictate what they do, he’s always had an anointed closer who gets every save chance, etc. Do you think Collins would have pulled Santana at 199 innings in a marginal situation? Of course not. Zero chance. Zero. But because Gee has no clout and is a mild-mannered good soldier, Collins feels free to pinch-hit when he feels like it, no matter how small the advantage, no matter how large the cost to Gee. I don’t like this at all.
I agree with argonbunnies — regardless of the logic, round numbers like 200, .300, 20, 30, etc., help athletes feel better about themselves, increase motivation, and improve their confidence. Dillon Gee wanted very badly to pitch 200 innings in 2013, and falling short by one lousy inning will put a bitter taste in his mouth all winter. He could go one of two ways — either use it as extra motivation for 2014, or, be so disgusted that he chooses not to have a round numerical goal. Certainly, there is argument that an innings goal is not a great one for a pitcher, because attaining it is not completely within the pitcher’s control — even if he’s pitching well, particularly in the NL, he could be pulled out of a game earlier due to the score. On the other hand, maybe it IS a good goal with which to continue, because a National League pitcher can, after all, contribute offensively. Maybe falling short of 200 innings will motivate Gee to not only pitch effectively, but also to become a standout bunter and a strong hitter.
How about the idea of giving Gee the ball for one inning on Saturday or Sunday? There are a few ways to look at it.
1. He’d gain the satisfaction of getting to that round number.
2. He’d get to 200, but it might feel “cheapened” because he didn’t get all 200 as a starter (this was suggested by Ron Darling).
3. Getting that one extra inning may very well help his future contract negotiations. As illogical as it is to an athlete to have the intrinsic need to reach round numbers, it’s equally illogical that round numbers can result in significantly more money.
Then there is the Terry Collins side of this debate, and I agree with argonbunnies. How can Collins do the “favor” of pulling Jose Reyes out of the final game of a meaningless season to secure the batting title, yet not give Gee the ball for a 200th inning in the 162nd game of an equally meaningless season? Particularly when Collins was pretty sure Reyes wasn’t returning the next season, and, he’s pretty sure Gee will be part of his rotation in 2014? What good did it do for Collins to help Reyes? Will stopping Gee short of 200 create a bit of ill will with his most durable and reliable starter going into next year?
Now, the conspiracy theory: were both of these individual achievements controlled by someone above Collins? In other words, was there someone in upper management “recommending” to Collins that he make sure Reyes gets the batting title? And, was it also “recommended” that Gee fall just short of an innings total that might make him more expensive?
What’s your thought? Should Gee get the ball for three more outs this weekend? Why or why not? Sound off in the comments.