Mets still open to trading Dillon Gee

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Despite losing Zack Wheeler to a ligament tear that required Tommy John surgery, the New York Mets still may trade right-hander Dillon Gee within the month, an organization source told ESPNNewYork.com.

Gee is expected to open the season in the Mets' rotation, although there are dissenters among team officials, who prefer prospect Rafael Montero.

Mets manager Terry Collins has not yet named Gee the fifth starter. Montero is expected to open the season in the bullpen.

There are no active discussions with other clubs, so Gee is expected to open the regular season with the Mets, the source added.

Gee, last year's Opening Day starter, was being prepped for relief work earlier in camp until Wheeler was diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament.

Gee, 28, limited the St. Louis Cardinals to two runs in seven innings on Sunday in Jupiter, lowering his Grapefruit League ERA to 2.49.

The Mets feel comfortable trading Gee even with Wheeler being lost for the season. Montero, 24, is viewed as having more upside than Gee, and the Mets have a talented stable of Triple-A pitchers who arguably are major league-ready, including Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz and Matt Bowman.

Gee is 40-34 with a 3.91 ERA in 106 career appearances (103 starts) for the Mets. He went 7-8 with a 4.00 ERA in 22 starts last season. He missed two months with a strained right lat muscle.

Gee is due to make $5.3 million this season. He is under the team's control through the 2016 season.