At first, New York Mets pitcher Dillon Gee was only supposed to miss two starts due to a strained lat muscle. Then the team said he would miss three starts, as Gee preferred to make a rehab start in the minors before returning to the Mets’ rotation. But now the Mets have backed off Gee’s rehab, meaning there’s little chance that he’ll come off the DL when eligible. If Gee ends up missing a significant period of time, his injury setback will be a big blow to the Mets’ chances of getting back on track and staying competitive in 2014.
Despite a wealth of pitching prospects who have done well to provide depth and contribute at the major league level, the loss of Gee for more than a couple of starts is a big deal. Along with Jon Niese, Gee has been the most consistent starter in the Mets’ rotation this year, and his presence is the rotation is vital considering the inconsistency of Bartolo Colon and Zack Wheeler.
Youngsters like Rafael Montero and Jacob deGrom have been impressive since joining the Mets’ rotation. The team is fine for the short term with those two filling in for Gee, but in the long term, the Mets need Gee back in their rotation. Montero and deGrom are both talented pitchers with bright futures, but they are not established big league pitchers. They have not yet had the kind of success and displayed the kind of consistency that Gee has over the past year, which is why missing Gee more than two or three times through the rotation is a significant loss for the Mets.
Moreover, once the Mets get Gee back in the rotation, either Montero or deGrom could be shifted to the bullpen, giving a much-needed boost to an area of concern. No matter how well the Mets’ young pitchers perform, there is no substitute for the way Gee has performed over the past year. Every start he misses hurts the team, which is why his injury setback is such a concern for the Mets.