Right-hander Dillon Gee has an opt-out clause in his contract that will allow him to become a free agent if he is not added to the 40-man roster tomorrow, as MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes. (FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported the March 15 date back in December.) According to Flanagan, the Royals have been impressed by Gee’s early results as well as his bullpen sessions, making him a good bet to land with the club. Gee, 29, has yielded a run on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts thus far in camp and could be in line for a bullpen role, where he’d also serve as rotation depth, per Flanagan. The 29-year-old’s contract contains a $2MM base salary and contains $700K worth of incentives based on relief appearances and $3.3MM worth of incentives tied to rotation work. Though he struggled through a down season last year in the Majors and at Triple-A, Gee has a track record as a dependable starter, having pitched to a 3.91 ERA in 639 2/3 innings with the Mets from 2010-14. As Flanagan points out, the Royals have an easy 40-man move to accommodate Gee, should they choose, as lefty Mike Minor can be transferred to the 60-day DL. Here’s more from the Central divisions.
- The transition from Dave Dombrowski to Al Avila in the Tigers’ front office last year was completed in secret, but that hasn’t stopped Dombrowski from remaining friends, Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes. In early August, Avila received a phone call from owner Mike Ilitch, and Avila (after receiving a host of assurances that the Tigers would be able to commit more heavily to analytics, scouting and the international market) agreed to take the Tigers’ GM job during that conversation, three days before Ilitch fired Dombrowski. The situation was “awkward,”as both Dombrowski and Avila describe it — Avila had been Dombrowski’s assistant GM, and the two had worked together for decades in both the Tigers and Marlins organizations. Still, the two remain friendly. “I’m really happy for him,” Dombrowski says. “He’s always worked hard, very knowledgeable, and has been very loyal. I know it was awkward, but I’m glad he got this opportunity.”
- Cardinals starter Michael Wacha makes an interesting extension candidate, writes Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Frederickson quotes Wacha saying that he isn’t aware of any extension discussions. It’s easy to imagine why there might be mutual interest in a deal, though — an extension could potentially keep Wacha in St. Louis longer, and, as Frederickson implies, would begin to increase in cost just as the Lance Lynn and Jaime Garcia deals are set to expire. Of course, long-term deals for pitchers can be risky (Garcia’s long-term deal, for example, hasn’t gone perfectly), and Wacha has been in the league long enough that an extension would likely require a fairly significant commitment. The last starting pitcher with between two and three years of service time to receive an extension was Corey Kluber, who got $38.5MM guaranteed from the Indians following his 2014 Cy Young season.