DECEMBER 18, 1:24pm: Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links) pegs the potential base salary at $2MM and says that Gee can earn up to $3.3MM in incentives as a starter or up to $700K as a reliever. He also adds that the opt-out ended up being for March 15th, which is still an early date.
11:03am: Gee’s base salary, if he’s on the major league roster, would be $1.75MM, Heyman tweets.
DECEMBER 14, 8:11pm: Gee can opt out of his contract on March 2nd if he has not yet been added to the 40-man roster, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports on Twitter.
That’s an unusually early date, and certainly gives Gee plenty of leverage entering the spring. Most opt-outs occur at the end of camp (if not later), allowing clubs time not only to assess performance but also to look for alternatives.
In this case, Kansas City will be forced into an earlier decision. That makes sense, given that the Royals had to lure Gee away from major league offers from other clubs, per Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com (via Twitter), though those reportedly came from “rebuilding clubs.”
Gee also gets significant salary upside, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter). The contract includes performance incentives that could bring its total value as high as $5.3MM or so. While the details remain unreported, Passan suggests that Gee could max out the deal with a full season’s worth of starts and an innings tally at or near his career high of 199 frames.
2014 was a disappointing season for the 29-year-old, who lost his rotation spot with the Mets after scuffling out of the gates to a 5.90 ERA. Gee’s peripherals suggested that he was much the same pitcher as always, but New York obviously had good reason to believe that youngster Noah Syndergaard was ready to take his place — and offer an upgrade.
That’s no slight to the generally sturdy Gee, who owns a 4.03 ERA in his 679 1/3 career frames. Kansas City will presumably look at Gee as a bullpen or back-of-the-rotation depth piece, and he makes a good bit of sense in that swingman capacity.
As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca observes on Twitter, the righty could make for a nice match with the deep K.C. pen if he’s utilized as a starter. Over his career, Gee has been quite good the first two times through the order but has allowed a .806 OPS the third time through.