By: Ben Leonard
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Giants, along with the Rockies and Padres, are interested in a trade for Mets’ right-hander Dillon Gee. The Giants are in need of depth at starting pitcher, but the recent acquisition of Travis Blackley essentially fills this “sixth starter role.” The Giants have other options for which they would give up less, and receive about the same or more production. Giants fans should hope that the Rockies and Padres beat out San Francisco for the hurler.
Last season, Gee produced a very pedestrian 4.00 ERA and -0.1 WAR in a pitchers’ ballpark at Citi Field. The righty is in the heart of his prime at age-28, but nothing about Gee’s numbers elicit optimism for future improvement. He posted a 4.52 FIP, likely a product of playing half of his games in such a cavernous park and the Met’s athletic outfield. Defensive whiz Juan Lagares features a strong defensive outfield playing behind the pitcher, something the Giants are unable to claim. Despite his speed, Angel Pagan is a poor center fielder, while Hunter Pence and Gregor Blanco constitute nothing more than slightly above average defenders.
Giants already filled depth
The Giants are full of question marks in their rotation, especially concerning for a club with little depth in the minor leagues. Tim Hudson is coming off of ankle surgery to remove bone spurs, and is not a certainty to stay healthy with his age, shown by his nagging hip injury last year. Cain is also coming off of a surgery for bone spurs, and again is not a certainty to stay healthy, even though the bone spurs have been removed. Furthermore, the Giants cannot realistically entrust the fifth starter spot with full confidence to Yusmeiro Petit or Tim Lincecum. If any of the starters go down, the Giants will, at the very least, need depth in long relief, where Travis Blackley comes into play.
Blackley may not be the most exciting acquisition, but he does fill the Giants’ need for depth at starting pitcher. He posted a 3.86 ERA as recently as 2012 with the Oakland Athletics, backed up by a 3.98 FIP. He can eat innings, although not at a high level, for a very low cost. The Giants would pay him the league-minimum, and stash him in Triple-A, risking essentially nothing to sign him.
Vogelsong more appealing
Ryan Vogelsong is simply a better pitcher than Dillon Gee, although he is nearly ten years older. He posted the same 4.00 ERA as Gee did in 2014, but had a far superior 3.85 FIP. Vogelsong has the championship experience, unlike Gee, and fits in nicely in the clubhouse. Chemistry led the Giants to win their three titles, and Vogelsong’s competitive attitude was a major factor in their postseason runs. His signing would muddle the situation at fifth starter, essentially leaving three pitchers vying for one spot. If the Giants either trade for Gee or re-sign Vogelsong, two starters would have to accept a role in the bullpen. If it comes down to a decision between the two for the Giants, Vogelsong would be a better fit with his superior pitching, and would be more professional in accepting a potential demotion to the bullpen.
Furthermore, the Giants would have to surrender a prospect to acquire Gee, and would pay an estimated $5 million for his services. Vogelsong was paid $7.5 million in 2014, and should earn around the same, if not less, next season. A trade for Gee would be very similar in prospects to the Wade Miley trade, in which the Diamondbacks got several midish-level prospects in Rubby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, and Raymel Flores. Clayton Blackburn, Matt Duffy, and Hunter Strickland, or any other group of Giants’ mid-level prospects could possibly be included in a deal for Gee. Kyle Crick, Tyler Beede, and Andrew Susac would certainly be untouchable in such a deal, but the Giants would rather not give up any slew of prospects when they could spend maybe $2 million more for a clearly superior pitcher in Vogelsong.
Stats and info courtesy of FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference
Cover Image: By MissChatter on Flickr (Original version) UCinternational (Crop) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons