Following a report from last night in which Andy Martino of the New York Daily News indicated that the Mets are in active trade talks regarding Dillon Gee, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets that the Rockies, Padres and Giants are all looking at a trade for the 28-year-old righty.
The Rockies were linked by Rosenthal’s colleague, Jon Morosi, to free agent Ryan Vogelsong last night, and Morosi reported late last week that the Rox also had mild interest in Dan Haren. It’s not surprising to see Colorado looking to add some arms, and Gee would seem a bit of a better fit than either Vogelsong or Haren. For one, his projected $5.1MM price tag (courtesy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz) is half that of Haren’s. But more importantly, Gee is more of a ground-ball pitcher than either of the other two veteran righties; he posted a 44.1 percent ground-ball rate in 2014 and sports a 45.6 percent mark for his career. While those numbers are roughly league average, they’re much higher than the marks Haren and Vogelsong have posted in recent years. Both have a ground-ball percentage of about 39 percent in that time. Gee is also controllable for two seasons via arbitration — another factor that Colorado likely finds appealing.
It’s a bit puzzling to see the Padres linked to a starting pitcher, but perhaps it shouldn’t be, given how active GM A.J. Preller has been on the trade front this winter. San Diego currently projects to have a strong crop of starters, fronted by Andrew Cashner, Tyson Ross and Ian Kennedy. Beyond that trio, injury-prone but talented righties Brandon Morrow and Josh Johnson will compete with Odrisamer Despaigne, Robbie Erlin andCory Luebke for the final two spots. Of course, both Luebke and Johnson are on the mend from Tommy John surgery, so they’re unlikely to be ready for the beginning of the season. And, Cashner, Morrow and Johnson all have lengthy injury histories, so perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that the Friars are looking for more depth. San Diego also traded away the talented Jesse Hahn, who seemed destined for a rotation spot, in the Derek Norris deal with the A’s.
As for the Giants, they’ve had uncertainty surrounding their rotation for quite some time, and that only increased when they learned that Tim Hudson would require ankle surgery that would keep him shelved for eight weeks. Following that news, vice president/assistant GM Bobby Evans told reporters that the team still wasn’t considering adding a Major League arm to its ranks, but that no longer appears to be the case. The Giants have Madison Bumgarner atop the rotation and re-signed Jake Peavy to a two-year deal, but both Matt Cain and Hudson are now coming off surgery, Tim Lincecum has been unstable for the better part of three years, and Yusmeiro Petit has never handled a full season’s workload as a starter (though he has been brilliant as a swingman for the past two seasons). San Francisco also watched Vogelsong hit the open market this winter, further depleting their rotation.
Gee, who turns 29 in late April, worked to an even 4.00 ERA in 137 innings with the Mets last season. He was limited by a strained lat muscle that led to a prolonged DL stint, but he did toss 199 innings the year prior. Over the past four seasons in the Mets’ rotation, Gee has worked to a 4.01 ERA (4.24 FIP) with 6.6 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. The Mets are known to be looking to shed a veteran starter this winter, and Gee’s name has come up the most frequently of late.
Among the areas that the Mets could be looking to address on their big league roster are left-handed relief and shortstop. I find it unlikely that the Mets receive a starting-caliber shortstop in a trade of Gee, but a left-handed reliever is certainly a plausible return, and they could simply move him for the best package of minor league talent offered by any of the interested parties as well.