With Matt Harvey working his way back from Tommy John surgery and Jon Niese likely to be held back for the second series of the regular season due to elbow inflammation, Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported this morning that Dillon Gee will start for the Mets on Opening Day against the Nationals on March 31.
Mets manager Terry Collins isn’t ready to make the assignment official, but based on his comments after today’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves, it would be surprising if he goes with anybody else.
“He’s probably the lead guy because of his success against the Nationals,” Collins said about Gee. “And, to be honest, no disrespect to Bartolo [Colon] or anybody else, but this guy has won more games, I think, for us in three years than anybody on the staff. We’re kind of leaning that way.”
There was some speculation that offseason addition Bartolo Colon or perhaps young right-hander Zack Wheeler would get the nod, but Gee has more seniority with the team than either of them. The 27-year-old is also coming off a very solid season where he posted a 3.62 ERA over a career-high 32 starts. He was at risk of losing his rotation spot in late May, but he rattled off a 2.71 ERA over his final 22 outings.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.