2:51pm: The Mets have now confirmed that Gee has been designated, tweets MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
Gee’s name has been bandied about in trade rumors for the better part of the past nine months, as the Mets possess a number of promising young arms that are projected to have higher ceilings. Nonetheless, he’s been a very serviceable back-of-the-rotation starter for the Mets over the past few seasons, so it’s possible that the team was a ways down the road in trade negotiations pertaining to Gee already and simply opted to designate him for assignment now in order to free up a 40-man roster spot. Gee started yesterday, so his spot on the roster wasn’t going to yield any innings in the next few days anyhow.
For a team in need of a stabilizing force at the back of the rotation, rolling the dice on a rebound for Gee would certainly make some sense. From 2010-14, Gee notched a 3.91 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 639 2/3 innings, and he’s typically posted a ground-ball rate near or above the league average (career 46 percent). Of his $5.3MM salary, about $3.24MM is left on the hook. I’d imagine that a team would prefer the Mets to take on some, if not most of that in a trade.
Track record aside, Gee has struggled to a 5.90 ERA in 39 2/3 innings for the Mets this season, though much of the damage came in an eight-run bludgeoning at the hands of the Braves yesterday. Gee has also missed time this year with a groin strain and spent nearly two months on the DL in 2014 with a strained lat muscle. His 2015 struggles, along with the injuries and his salary have presumably diminished his trade value since Opening Day.
If the team is unable to trade Gee, he could be sent outright to Triple-A upon clearing waivers. There’s a chance that some team would claim him, though the remaining $3.24MM on his deal lessens the chance of that outcome. Were he to clear waivers, he’d head to Triple-A Las Vegas..