Yesterday afternoon, the Wilpon family lost a lawsuit in New York’s highest court. The Court of Appeals decided that the Wilpons may not replace Citi Field’s parking lot — which is technically New York City parkland — with a privately owned shopping mall. The Wilpons had argued that their proposed development on the other side of the stadium (replacing the auto body shops with new apartments and, purportedly, a public school) was of such great benefit to the city that the Wilpons met the spirit of the public trust law that gave the team its stadium land in 1961. The court didn’t buy the misdirection.
The ruling does not release the Wilpons from their obligation to construct the mixed-use residential/retail/school development on Willets Point, subject to a $35 million break-up fee if they back out. It’s a good thing the Mets signed Yoenis Cespedes in 2016, because you know the Wilpons will use this court decision to plead poverty this coming winter.
MEANWHILE… Jacob deGrom recreated a Dillon Gee lowlights reel, giving up 8 runs and 10 hits over just four innings. Rangers 10, Mets 7.
As a rookie seven years ago, Dillon Gee posted a 2.18 ERA in five starts for the Mets. This came as a surprise insofar as Gee’s 4.96 ERA and 174 hits in 161 1/3 innings at Triple-A (remember, back then it was Buffalo, not Las Vegas) did not mark him as a future star. Indeed, Gee had never been a top-ten Mets prospect, though Baseball America said he had the best changeup in the system. Ominously, Gee walked 15 and struck out just 17 over 33 innings while producing that 2.18 ERA in his first five MLB starts.
Gee was a place-holding LAIM in New York. His first-year FIP of 4.20 was in line with the 4.25 FIP he pitched to over six Mets seasons, as well as the 4.40 FIP (and 4.09 ERA) he’s produced over his eight-year career. Gee’s last Mets appearance was a June 14, 2015, start against the Braves in which he gave up eight runs, 11 hits and a walk in 3.2 innings. His career ended in Flushing with a mediocre 40-37 record, 4.03 ERA, and 6.5 strikeouts per nine innings when the league’s starting pitchers were striking out 7.9 per nine. With Harvey, deGrom, Syndergaard, Colon, and Matz penciled in for the 2016 rotation, we danced with glee to see Gee flee.
After the Mets non-tendered Gee following the 2015 World Series, the hated Royals picked him up on a $2 million major-league deal. For their investment, Kansas City enjoyed the stock Dillon Gee performance so long as they could stand it: 33 games, 14 starts, 89 strikeouts, and 37 walks in 125 innings. A 4.68 ERA and 5.25 FIP. The Royals declined to tender Gee a contract for 2017.
Still only 31 years old, the Texas Rangers signed Gee to a minor-league deal before the 2017 season, though he could earn up to $3 million in salary and performance bonuses if he made the majors. The Rangers deal was a homecoming for Gee, who grew up in Cleburne, Texas, and matriculated at the University of Texas – Arlington. Say what you will about Gee, but the Mets could not have been scouting the stat line when they popped him in the 21st round of the 2007 amateur draft. His best college ERA was 4.67, with a Geely 96/22 K/BB ratio in 111 2/3 innings in the Southland Conference.
This being the darkest Mets timeline, Gee was decent for the Rangers’ Pacific Coast League affiliate — nine starts, 43 strikeouts and 13 walks in 51 innings. Gee’s 3.88 ERA in Round Rock was enough to get him promoted to the Rangers’ bullpen on May 27. From that day until Tuesday night, Gee pitched to a 0.00 ERA in 6.2 innings, striking out five and walking one. Like any ambulatory Triple-A veteran, he’d have been an improvement over Rafael Montero.
In other Darkest Mets Timeline news, Dillon Gee’s 2010 Mets teammate Mike Pelfrey has a 1.13 ERA and 15/3 K/BB ratio over his last three starts (16 IP) for the … White Sox. Where have you gone, John Maine?
Last night’s game started well. Michael Conforto led off with a double to right on Gee’s second pitch of the game. It seemed like the Mets would fall victim to another run of bad cluster luck when Asdrubal Cabrera struck out and Jay Bruce popped to third. But then Neil Walker worked a full count and drew a walk, bringing up the indomitable Lucas Duda, who singled to the same spot in right that Conforto explored four batters earlier. The Mets jumped out to a 1-0 lead.
Curtis Granderson walked to lead off the second. He was eliminated on a double play finely turned by the Rangers’ keystone pair. But then Juan Lagares hit a line drive to right-center that would have been an easy out at Citi Field but carried over the fence in Arlington. Cabrera hit a leadoff dinger in the third inning as well. Bruce hit one out to center in the next at-bat, but Jared Hoying lept up and brought it back. Then Walker hit one about 30 feet farther that Hoying could only watch.
Four runs in three innings feels like a solid start on offense, even when you leave seven runners on base in those innings. The hitting isn’t the problem: Every Met except Bruce and Conforto (who was 1-for-4 with two walks) had a multi-hit game, a home run or both. Against all odds, Conforto came up as the tying run with no outs in the top of the ninth. He walked. As we’ve come to expect, the Mets could not capitalize. Cabrera struck out and former Met savior Jay Bruce hit into a game-ending 3-6-1 double play.
But look: deGrom allowed runs in every inning he pitched, including two long home runs to Nomar Mazara. It was his second straight start of just four innings. When Jacob deGrom can’t outpitch Dillon Gee, little else matters.
This is already the 7th time this season that the Mets have given up 10+ runs in a game. Only happened 6 times in 2016 and 4 times in 2015.
— Steve Gelbs (@SteveGelbs) June 7, 2017
Forgive me: I’d never heard of Scott Braun until last night, when he was sitting in for Gary in the booth with Ron. According to this “poorly sourced” Wikipedia article, Braun has been with MLB Network since 2012, though no word on when Braun broadcasts began on SNY.
“Gary gets four full days off to rest his perfect pipes.” — Ron
“A little surprised that no one is up in the bullpen for the Texas Rangers considering the line drives that have been ringing off the Mets’ bats.” — Ron, as the Mets nearly went back-to-back-to-back off Dillon Gee in the third inning.
Tonight’s pitching match-up is less favorable to the visiting team: Zack Wheeler faces Yu Darvish, as Asdrubal Cabrera is reportedly set to DH so Terry Collins can get the .190/.263/.307 slash line that is Jose Reyes into the lineup.
Photo Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports