Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic tweets that the SSG Baseball client will earn between $1.5MM and $2MM overseas and hopes to re-establish himself as a starting pitcher with an eye toward returning to the Majors in 2019. Gee’s deal, which is pending a physical, also contains additional incentives to boost his earnings.
Gee, 32 in April, split the 2017 season between the Rangers and Twins, performing particularly well for the latter of those two clubs as a spot starter and long reliever. Gee logged a 3.22 ERA in 36 1/3 innings with Minnesota and overall posted a 3.47 ERA in 49 1/3 frames in the Majors. Along the way, the former Mets starter averaged 7.5 K/9 against 2.7 BB/9 with a 41.2 percent ground-ball rate and a fastball that sat at 91 mph. The 25 percent hard-contact rate that Gee yielded this past season was among the lowest in baseball.
Gee was a longstanding member of the Mets’ rotation, starting 98 games from 2011-14 before losing that spot in a rough 2015 campaign. He hooked on with the Royals the following season and delivered mixed results between the rotation and bullpen before ultimately undergoing thoracic outlet surgery.
It certainly seems possible that Gee had interest on Major League deals in North America, though perhaps not with the promise of a guaranteed spot in the rotation. A one-year stint in Japan should afford Gee the opportunity to prove that he can still handle the rigors of throwing 150-plus innings in a single season, and it’s of course possible that success there would lead to even more lucrative offers to remain in NPB beyond the 2018 campaign.