Dillon Gee has really turned my head around. Start after start, he comes out there and shows so much craft, guile, and guts. Most nights, he looks like a very good major league pitcher. And I’ll admit it, I’ve never been a believer. I’m a “stuff” guy — I prefer pitchers who look like they are hard to hit, the talent you can see.
Gee never had any hype, one day we needed a pitcher and he just showed up. He has been solid all along. But without the big fastball, it was natural to be suspicious. This year in particular he has pitched great. I already pointed out how well he fits our park. With the additions of Lagares and Young we are also being reminded of the handicap he pitched with for much of his Mets career, bad defense. In Minnesota the other day, Lagares ran down more than one potential extra-base hit.
In Dillon Gee’s last 15 starts he is 7-2, with an ERA of 2.27. That is beyond solid.
For me, I’m satisfied to let the market dictate things for now. What is Dillon Gee worth? How does that compare to the value of, say, Noah Syndergaard, or Rafael Montero, or Jonathan Niese? None of them are untradeable. But at the same time, do you have to trade any of them this winter?
Your first statement is the key one, the market dictates. So, as to what is a good deal, exactly, that always depends on the needs of other teams as well as your own. For this reason I am already on record that I consider Gee someone we should keep. It’s not that I slot him ahead of Harvey (obviously), Wheeler, Montero, Syndergaard, etc., but when you look at those career road/home splits it is difficult to envision a trade that will make sense. Other GMs have access to those numbers too. And Gee has real value to us, we can’t trade him for 50 cents on the dollar just to make room for someone.
As to whether we have to trade someone, that remains to be seen. Are the owners finally going to step up to the plate and spend some money? We have heard for years we are waiting for Santana and Bay to come off the books. Well, that day is coming.
Taking on salary changes the dynamic. You can sign free agents, yes, but it’s not just that. You can also take on salary in trades with partners trying to dump salary. In those deals you do not have to deal premium talent away. So, with the proper investment you might not have to deal any of the names you mentioned above.
Now, as we see every time Harvey pitches, you do need hitters to win as well as pitching. If a premium slugger becomes available and we need to include some of the names you mention above, I would do it. There are only so many of those guys, and if you look around baseball the balance is shifting. The rarest commodity now is not a frontline pitcher — it’s a star offensive player.
The simplest solution would be to enter the Jose Abreu sweepstakes, I suppose. It’s a bold move I could see Omar Minaya make — he always had a much grander vision for a Mets dynasty — but very hard to imagine Sandy Alderson bringing over the Cuban slugger.
(For a chorus of opinions on the above, here’s Jacob Resnick at Mets360, Joe D at Metsmerized, and Matt Cerrone at Metsblog. In contradiction to Cerrone’s numbers, Matthew Pouliot of Hardball Talk suggests that a contract exceeding $80 million would not be a surprise.)
But I want to shelf those thoughts for now. With this team, it’s difficult to stay in the here and now. We’ve remarked on it before. Even during spring training, so much of the focus seemed to bypass the 2013 season altogether. It was all about next year, the budget room, Bay and Santana off the books, and all the wonderful young arms in Port St. Lucie.
Here we are in late August and it feels like the sad end of September. Nothing matters beyond the pure pleasure of the game itself. Watching Lagares track fly balls. Listening to Keith in the booth say, as he said on Monday after watching d’Arnaud take a 3-1 pitch for a strike: “See, I don’t want him looking for a walk here. Swing the bat. Three-one pitch, fastball, he’s got to be on it.”
I bring up Dillon Gee and the mind immediately wanders: we do the math, count the pitchers in the system, look at the offense, and try to figure out how it can all be fixed. But really I just want to pause a minute and say that once again this game teaches me something new (and something old) all over again. You look up and realize that the guy you never expected just might be the player you needed all along. My hat is off to Dillon Gee. He’s really been impressive this season. I guess sometimes you need to step back in order to see the thing in front of you, especially when it’s not what you were expecting to find.