Maybe it’s time for the Mets to extend Dillon Gee

Dillon GeeDillon Gee is not the most exciting name on the Mets. Gee is known as the reliable pitcher who can produce some quality innings. Gee is not an innings eater, and he’s surely not a dominant player. When healthy, he can be counted on to keep the team in the ball game. He’s also the Mets’ opening day starter,not that that title means anything. Gee is the opening day starter by default and not necessarily by merit. However, he has some qualities that are reasonably good enough for the Mets to take a risk and extend him.

Last Year, Gee pitched to an ERA/FIP/xFIP line of 3.62/4.00/4.07, which is about league average. While his overall year was average, Gee was hampered by a bad March/April in which he posted a FIP of 5.46. However, after that month, his FIP didn’t hover much higher, just 4.24. Everyone has bad months, and it sometimes takes time for players to settle in the season. Other than April, Gee was a very solid pitcher last season. Solid pitchers aren’t cheap anymore, considering all the inflation that has come into baseball because of TV deals.

Phillip Hughes, who was average or at times below average for most of his career, got a three-year, $24 million deal from the Twins. Ricky Nolasco, who has never been anything exciting, got a four-year, $49 million deal also from the Twins. These are both pitchers who commanded a lot of money from the market, yet were never really anything special. The price to have a solid pitcher in your rotation has become really high. That’s why the Mets should give Gee an extension.

Gee is two years away from free agency, and since he hasn’t been anything spectacular, he would probably be willing to sign a team-friendly extension in exchange for a raise and some security. This does present some risk on the Mets’ side, because his performances might not exceed the value of the extension.

The Blue Jays have followed this model of signing internal options to extensions. We saw them sign both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to lucrative extensions. As risky as they seemed at the time, the value that those players have provided has far exceeded the value of the contracts. However, this model can also work both ways, as the Blue Jays signed Adam Lind to extension, and he hasn’t provided the expected value. In the long run, this strategy has worked pretty well for the Blue Jays because they have commanded such high value from the Bautista and Encarnacion extensions that it outweighs the lost value of the Lind Extension.

Signing Gee to an extension is probably a smart move. Sure it’s risky, but every move is risky. The nice part about risk is that sometimes it pays off, and there’s a good chance that it could pay off for the Mets. Gee has looked really good this spring. His curveball is no longer loopy, and he’s only allowed only two runs over 16 innings. Then again, this is only spring, but it’s better than having a bad spring. Given the rise in the cost of pitching, Gee’s solid campaign last year, and his potential to improve this year, a Jonathon Niese type contract extension might not be a bad idea.

8 comments for “Maybe it’s time for the Mets to extend Dillon Gee

  1. Frank from jersey
    March 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

    We have him for 2 more years which is perfect. By the time his contract runs out our rotation should be Harvey, wheeler, Thor, mejia, neise. Other arms like montero and degrom will be backing them up possibly.

  2. March 30, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Bautista and Encarnacion are core offensive players for the Blue Jays. With so many youngsters coming up for the Mets I see no point in extending Gee. You’re comparing apples to oranges. Apply the money your going to spend on Gee for a proven shortstop.

  3. Alek
    March 30, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    There is no point in extending Gee. He might be locked up for two more seasons, but by that time the rotation will be Harvey, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero, and DeGrom with depth and other options in Niese, Mejia, and Familia. Plus, by the time Gee is a free agent, the Mets could add more depth by bringing in a veteran on a minor-league deal or for the league minimum. So why spend the money on Gee when it could allocated to another more important issue.

  4. Eraff
    March 30, 2014 at 4:43 pm

    A team friendy extension might also boost trade value

    • Jerseymet
      April 3, 2014 at 6:44 pm

      Now that’s the ticket.

  5. harmony55
    March 30, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    For what it’s worth, Oliver projects a WAR of 9.4 for Ricky Nolasco over his four-year contract and a WAR of 4.4 for Phil Hughes over his three-year contract. For Dillon Gee, Oliver projects a three-year WAR of 2.5 and a four-year WAR of 3.3.

  6. Metsense
    March 30, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Jon Niese was extended for 5 years at $25.25M with two option years. If the Mets could extend Gee for 5 years near the same dollar range with 2 option years then they should do it immediately. Young pitching is very expensive and Gee has proven to be at least an average pitcher. An extension should add to his trade value if that is the route the Mets want to take. It would also be a cost savings and that “saved” money could be applied to fulfill other needs in future budgets. The risk is minimal when compared to other long term free agent contracts.
    The article referenced Hughes and Nolasco.
    Hughes: career 4.53 ERA, 1.322 WHIP, 95 ERA+, 6.3 WAR, 132 games started
    Nolasco: career 4.37 ERA, 1.288 WHIP, 94 ERA+, 10.8 WAR, 212 games started
    Gee: career 3.89 ERA, 1.300 WHIP, 94 ERA+, 4.7 WAR, 81 games started
    That was the 2014 free agent market and it should only go up.

  7. norme
    March 30, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    The problem with projecting the influx of young Mets pitchers in the future is that it does not account for injuries (see M. Harvey). The old axiom that you never have enough good pitching still holds. If Gee can be signed for a Niese-like extension by all means do it. As Metsense and Eraff pointed out, such a contract might also make him attractive for a future trade. Extending Gee does not eliminate the Mets ability to upgrade at SS, but enhances it because it adds to the stockpile of talent that can interest others teams who may wish to trade a SS.

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