The Royals signed pitcher Dillon Gee yesterday. The Mets’ 2014 opening day starter, Gee struggled and then lost his job in 2015. I have no reports as to whether Gee met Noah Syndergard early last season at 60’6″ to officially hand over his spot in the starting rotation or not.
Remember folks, the Royals are the bad guys because their leadoff hitter swings at first pitch fastballs, the Mets are cool because Syndergard threw at his head as opposed to, I don’t know, throwing a freaking change-up that Escobar would have missed by four feet, but I digress.
Gee, despite last season, has some value and almost certainly has the inside track to the 11th or 12th spot on the Royals’ 2016 pitching staff. He would seem to be set up to be the complimentary swingman to pair with Chris Young, who you cannot, should not and will not count on for more than 140 or 150 innings. Don’t get me wrong, I expect most of those Young innings to be good, he is just not a guy you put down for 190 in a season…..ever.
There are deals like this all the time in the off-season and they almost always make sense. Ryan Madson is your poster boy for such a deal last year. Young, as noted by others already, is not really a valid comparison. Truthfully, Gee lies somewhere in between where Madson was prior to spring of 2015 and where Young was, maybe he’s more a Joe Blanton type. In the case of Blanton, he cost the Royals little and gave them 41 decent innings when the team really needed them. Forgotten amidst all the fun that goes with winning a World Series, the Blanton signing was certainly a success for Dayton Moore.
The interesting clause in Gee’s minor league deal is that it require he be placed on the 40 man roster by March 2nd or given the option to pursue well, other options. Pretty common for veteran players to have a spring opt-out date, but usually that dependent on not the 40 man roster, but making the 25 man roster. Madson had such a deal last year: he had to be assured of a spot on the 25 man roster at some point in late March or given the option to request his release. Gee’s early date and the fact that it relates to the 40 man roster instead of the active 25 leads me to believe a handshake deal is in place (or maybe a written one actually!) that he will be placed on the 40 man roster not long after arriving in Arizona for the spring. The Royals are limit up right now on the 40 man, but we know Jason Vargas is headed to the 60 day DL as soon as one is allowed to do so (March 1? – I know there is this internet thing out there, but I tried for almost a full minute and could not find out the exact date).
Little things like this signing are not big news. They sometimes turn into nothing (Chris Volstad anyone?) or a real something (Madson). It was not long ago that the Royals signed a Horacio Ramirez (or traded for him, traded him and resigned him!) or a Luis Mendoza and one knew in January that he would be a starter. Now, they sign a Dillon Gee and all we really know is he probably will be on the 40 man roster in March. As I have said so many times already, this is sure a lot better.
What is not better is the Alex Gordon situation.
Craig covered it in detail yesterday and I echo his thoughts. I will add that Dayton Moore’s comments each day ring more and more like a guy who has picked up his ball and stormed home. Now, even back when the Royals were not good at much of anything, they were very good at keeping secrets and all of this could just be smoke to cover what is really going on. That does not keep it from being worrisome – at least for those of us in the keep Gordon camp. I have become skeptical that Kansas City will carry a $130 million payroll into the season and that in itself might point to Gordon going elsewhere.
With the signings of Jason Heyward with the Cubs and Johnny Cueto with the Giants, I have to believe those two teams (noted often as potential suitors) are out of the running, which helps the Royals. The problem is, the Cardinals are in the mix. Anywhere but St. Louis, Alex. Anywhere, but there.
Written hundreds of times already, but worth reiterating: the Royals can cobble together the list of supposed prospects to pair with Jarrod Dyson and certainly and without question replace Alex Rios. There is no combination in the system that will replace what Alex Gordon has given the Royals next year…or the year after that. Simply put, if the decision comes down to signing a Kazmir/Gallardo versus Gordon, I’ll gamble in Ventura/Duffy/Medlen being more capable of providing production at pitcher than on Eibner/Fuentes/Martinez/Starling/Orlando providing production that will absorb the loss of Gordon. That is an rugged sentence, but you get my drift.
Do a Gordon and have a fun summer.