Texas Rangers

Cleburne native Dillon Gee elects to remain with Rangers; not seen as Kela fill-in

Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses Cole Hamels and Andrew Cashner

Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses the combined three-hit shutout thrown by Cole Hamels and Andrew Cashner (Video by Stefan Stevenson).
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Rangers manager Jeff Banister discusses the combined three-hit shutout thrown by Cole Hamels and Andrew Cashner (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

Cleburne native Dillon Gee has decided to stay with the Texas Rangers after exercising the opt-out clause in his minor league contract Thursday. The terms of his new deal have not been finalized, but Gee has agreed to start the season with Triple A Round Rock.

“A lot of these decisions are never really that easy,” said Gee, who turns 31 on April 28. “I felt I had a good spring so there is always that part of you that wants to see if there’s an option that puts you in a good situation as well, but I think what we’re working on is going to be a good fit.”

Gee, who lives outside of Fort Worth near Aledo, said he wanted to stay in Texas. Both sides have been willing to bend on certain aspects of his contract, said Gee, who was supposed to earn $2 million if he won a spot on the 25-man roster after signing a minor league deal in January.

That’s obviously nice [staying home in Texas], it’s a great benefit but I try not to let that factor in my business decisions. I think we all know that our careers are only for a certain window so I’ve got to take the best opportunity always, but it’s definitely a nice benefit to stay at home.

Rangers RHP Dillon Gee

“I wanted to stay here and with the things they’re willing to do and I’m willing to do, it’s a win-win,” he said. Gee graduated from Cleburne High School and played with UT Arlington in 2005-06.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Jeff Banister have both expressed an interest in keeping Gee, who has spent the past seven seasons in the majors, including 2016 with the Royals.

“We’re going to have a need for a guy with a track record in the big leagues who can start, do a lot of things,” Daniels said. “He’s a great make-up guy, throws tons of strikes.”

The club hasn’t guaranteed Gee a call-up to the majors, Daniels said, but the agreement calls for a major league contract that would add him to the 40-man roster. It would also allow the club to option him to the minors if and when he’s called up. Daniels said Gee won’t be an option to replace Keone Kela in the bullpen. Kela was optioned to Round Rock on Friday afternoon for a non-performance reason.

“We all know we’re going to need pitching help, we don’t know when but I expect he’ll give us a pretty good option,” said Daniels, who added that the spirit of the deal gives Gee the ability to play elsewhere if he remains in Round Rock deep into the season.

3.20 Earned-run average for Dillon Gee in 19 2/3 spring innings.

“We would look to accommodate him,” Daniels said.

Gee said he wasn’t opposed to working out of the bullpen but likes the idea of staying on a starter’s schedule, at least for the beginning of the season. Gee was magnificent in the spring finale in Surprise, Ariz., on Wednesday, holding the Royals hitless through 5  2/3 innings and pitching six scoreless innings.

“I thought it was a pretty good statement. I finished the spring season strong. It put me in a good situation,” he said.

Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels provides updates Friday on several players, including the decision to send Keone Kela to Triple A (video by Jeff Wilson).

Staying home was the overriding factor in Gee remaining with the Rangers, but it’s a great side benefit, he said.

“That’s obviously nice, but I try not to let that factor in my business decisions,” he said. “I think we all know that our careers are only for a certain window so I’ve got to take the best opportunity always, but it’s definitely a nice benefit to stay at home.”

Stefan Stevenson: 817-390-7760, @StevensonFWST

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