Mets outright right-hander Gee to Triple-A
MILWAUKEE -- Following more than a week of trade talk and uncertainty, Dillon Gee is officially back in the Mets organization.
Gee cleared waivers on Tuesday and, after the Mets outrighted him to Triple-A Las Vegas, the longtime starting pitcher accepted that assignment. Though Gee could have rejected it and become a free agent, he would have forfeited the roughly $3.1 million he is still owed this season. Instead, Gee will report to Las Vegas; if he remains there for the rest of the season, he can become a free agent in November.
Rather than option Gee to the Minors last week, the Mets chose to expose him to waivers in an attempt to trade him. No team claimed Gee and the Mets were unable to work out a trade, prompting them to request and receive outright waivers.
Now, although one of the longest-tenured Mets players no longer finds himself in baseball purgatory, he is off the 40-man roster and won't be contributing to the big club. The Mets plan to have Gee start every fifth day in Las Vegas, adding to their starting pitching depth.
"I think it's the best for him to go down, and hopefully pitch and get back here," manager Terry Collins said. "We're going to need a sixth guy here pretty soon. There's no reason why it can't be him."
There is a reason, however, why it is unlikely to be him: Steven Matz. The Mets' top pitching prospect still on the farm, Matz is first in line for a big league promotion the next time the Mets need a spot starter to give Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom and others extra rest.
But Gee's presence back in the organization means he could eventually return, as well -- particularly given what the Mets are paying him.
Now 29 years old, Gee won 38 games for the Mets from 2011-14, going 12-11 with a 3.62 ERA in his best season in '13. He earned the team's Opening Day start last year, but spent significant time on the disabled list, then endured endless waves of trade rumors this winter.
In what he recently called "the weirdest year in baseball" he has ever experienced, Gee reported to Spring Training as a member of the bullpen, then bounced between the 'pen and the rotation before going on the DL again in early May. When he returned, the Mets briefly used him as part of a six-man rotation, before ditching that idea and sending him back to the bullpen.
Gee made just one relief appearance before returning to the rotation for a spot start. He gave up eight runs and the Mets designated him for assignment the next day.