Here’s something weird:

Um… OK?

Seeing as the last bit of game action Dustin McGowan saw involved his being carted off with plantar fasciitis in his right foot– and seeing as, back in December, Bowden tweeted that the Jays had won the Yu Darvish bidding (he subsequently deleted the tweet)– it’s kind of a weird one.

After news over the weekend of McGowan’s latest injury setback, fans– who were probably expecting too much to begin with– couldn’t have been faulted for readying themselves for life without the engineer of a miraculous nearly-four-year comeback.

Now… he’s extended?

Yes, tweets John Lott of the National Post.

And Shi Davidi confirms the terms.

What the fuck?

Parkes tries to make sense of it at Getting Blanked.

As for me, I understand that the Jays gambled on Jose Bautista’s ability to repeat and it paid off massively. I get that there could be value to taking care of their own and showing their belief in what could be a key piece for them– and perhaps even more value in preventing an Al Leiter situation, where McGowan has a decent season and then bolts as a free agent at the end of 2012.

For that to occur, however, McGowan needs to stay healthy, to pitch extremely well, and to be unwilling to accept anything the Jays might offer him over the course of the next seven months.

Yes, in that scenario the Jays might have ended up paying him more, if they were even able to convince him to stay, but… I’m just not sure a lot of fans are able to see reality past how much they want McGowan’s story to have a happy ending.

How likely is it that McGowan actually stays healthy? He’s already been carted off the field this spring, and he’s only thrown 91.2 innings at any level since 2008.

And how likely is it that he can pitch effectively? He walked far too many hitters in his 21 innings of MLB work last year, and has had similar ratios of balls and strikes in at least two starts this spring that I can recall– though he’s also been more efficient in another. Keith Law was rather down in him– in a very small one-start sample– but others, especially the club, have had far more positive things to say.

Certainly we hope he can stay healthy, and that all is well and that he pitches effectively. And I have no doubt that the Jays and their medical staff feel comfortable at signing him for the dollars and the term that they’ve gone to for him. Maybe they believe more than I want to believe they do in things like instilling confidence in the club and making good with the fan base by signing a guy they like.

At the very least, clearly they think that his arm is going to be OK and that he’s going to regain a better feel for his command the more he pitches.

It’s not impossible, it’s just… they had this exact same lottery ticket yesterday at $600K for 2012. Now they’ve gone and committed a spot in the rotation or the bullpen on him for three full years– unless at some point they eat the money, either by paying him a Major League salary to pitch in the minors or cutting him outright.

Regarding that point, some fans have pointed out that the contract is a deterrent to anyone who might want to grab McGowan if the Jays attempted to send him down, which would require his passing through waivers first, but to me it’s an absolutely ludicrous notion that the club would intentionally sign a player to a contract that they know nobody else would take if offered for free. Clearly the intent is to capitalize on what they believe is going to be a strong 2012 from McGowan.

I can’t say it’s not rather odd to me that they felt the need to bother, but there is at least one rather interesting way that I can allow myself to look at it and not dislike it quite so much (in, y’know, relative terms, seeing is it is only $3-million, so I don’t exactly hate it)…

Perhaps the move is indicative of a new MLB paradigm, where clubs may begin viewing the spending limits on the draft and on international players implemented under the new CBA as creating a pool of house money, which the Jays have used to buy themselves a lottery ticket– much like they would have had by going over-slot in the later rounds of the draft, hoping to one day get a nugget from out of the high-attrition murk. And maybe this phenomenon would create a more competitive market for a guy like McGowan than we think.

Yes, McGowan is older and comes with far less team control than a just-drafted prospect, but he’s also already in the Majors, and the Jays seen enough of him up close to feel that the potential reward mitigates the risk. We wouldn’t bemoan the club for investing this kind of money on potential flame outs in the Rule 4 draft, so maybe this isn’t so crazy.

The only difference is, of course, the Jays already have McGowan under contract, and could have gathered a lot more data before deciding what to do with him. No, $3-million isn’t a lot of money for an MLB club to have to eat, and the deal almost certainly doesn’t warrant the number of words I’ve spilled over it, but does anybody believe McGowan’s camp wouldn’t have jumped at this exact same deal if the Jays had waited to offer it until he’d made five healthy starts? Ten???

Do we really think his agent would have walked away if the Jays had offered fewer guaranteed years? Like… I’m not saying it was necessary to put the screws to him, but exactly what the hell kind of negotiating leverage does a guy in McGowan’s situation have?

I know, I know. It’s minor. But even AA’s minor gambles are worth examining, because they give insight into his process– which is hardly infallible, despite how tremendous Bautista’s deal looks in retrospect. And frankly, I don’t particularly agree with appears to have been the process here, ultimately, I guess, because I have a hard time believing that, at 30, after about three years off, McGowan is going to come back, stay healthy and be anything like the guy we remember. There’s a chance I’m wrong on that, of course, and it would be fantastic if I was, but the timing and the term of this deal are nothing if not confusing to me.

Comments (97)

  1. my guess is that he’s about to be replaced in the 5 man by Drabek and it’s a show of good faith that his rehab wasn’t for nothing.

    • not bad

    • (First comment from a lurker, not meaning to offend but…) Do you really believe such a thing? That is quite a convoluted storyline and seems irrelevant considering McGowan doesn’t exactly have a ton of other options for where to play right now.

      Let’s stick more basic assumptions for a moment, leaving aside the deep “secret hidden meaning” that people want to find in every little thing:

      a) The Jays think he has more chance of being worth 3M for 2013 and 2014 than not being worth it. Or they wouldn’t make this deal. No one gives away 3M to make someone feel better. Sorry.

      b) The Jays probably know his current medical condition better than us and probably are better at scouting than us (sorry to all the pro scouts who post here).

      So this sounds positive and considering how many people got all butt-hurt that the Jays did NOT spend 100+ million on a pitcher who has never played in MLB, I am surprised at any negative take on this.

  2. I’m guessing the “option” is so they can demote him this year?

  3. I was wondering over the winter whether they’d do this. I mean, for all the effort the Jays have put into him…he woulda been a free agent at the end of the year. If everything went right maybe he goes 150 innings this year, 180-190 innings in 2013 and without restrictions in 2014. We don’t know the terms yet, but I’m sure it’ll be team friendly in nature.

  4. I’m calling bullshit here too

  5. Any chance this is a ‘sign and trade’?

  6. Signing him for dirt cheap is exactly what AA would do. What does McGowan make right now? $450K? If he sucks, he will probably be able to pass through waivers and if he is MLB serviceable then he might be a bargain. I highly doubt McGowan had much leverage to negotiate with.

  7. Awesome News. Hope he can bring it all back together and be the second coming of Chris Carpenter. We screwed that one up.

  8. what about the timing? before the season but after the foot injury?

    • just a guess, they reached a handshake agreement prior to yesterdays injury and aa is sticking to it

  9. Welp. Open mouth. Insert foot.

  10. It’s actually really a great deal all around to me. If McGowan produced at all, he’s a bargain and if he doesn’t, it’s less than it cost to buyout Mark Teahen AND spread out over 2 (3 if you cut him this year) years.

  11. Wow that’s a dirt cheap extension and he could be a bargain in the bullpen if he’s not a tremendous bargain in the rotation. A risk well worth taking imo.

  12. That’s too expensive. Unless they put in a titanium reinforced rotator cuff during the last surgery, they could be paying $3 million for nothing.

  13. too many sources confirming it at this point for it to be just a rumor, they must be very confident that his foot really is day to day and they’re obviously not worried about it at all. even if he hadnt been carted off yesterday with mild plantar fasciitis, it still would have been an odd move for AA.

  14. That’s an unbelievable contract for the Jays, even if he’s only half as good as he was in 2007.

  15. Seems pricey to me.

  16. why not wait a month and see if he’s even in the rotation? whats the rush? he has body parts falling off left and right. this only makes sense if it prevents a waiver claim, but thats CBA governed and not contractual?

    • It could make him more willing to accept a longer DL stint at the start of the year to heal his feet, knowing he has security going forward.

      • There’s always that. Or does this contract make him unappealing to teams considering picking him up off waivers? They might have paid a premium as a disguise for another option to give him a bit more time to get a feel for pitching again.

        Imagine how incredibly frustrating it must have been for Dustin to take himself out of that game after all that rehab. This contract would take the weight of the world off his shoulders. A lot less pressure to put up results immediately.

        • you said what i was going to – maybe this would deter teams from claiming him for nothing if we ever have to send him down – other teams might think twice at 3.5 million vs. 450 000

  17. I think there has been a great relationship between the Jays and McGowan. Over the last few years, there have been ‘signs of good faith’ from both sides. The Jays have offered him some good dough in years they know he won’t pitch. In turn, McGowan has not opted to leave for a shot somewhere else. This is the latest in these exchanges.

    $1.5M per season means McGowan has huge potential to provide great value. A veteran starter pitching on a 1st year arb contract. If they can squeeze 125 IP a year, that’s a valuable #5 for most MLB teams.

    The risk is that he never regains control off his off-speed junk and can’t be an MLB pitcher. In which case, add another $3M to the last 4 years of investment. That’s not too bad, considering who far deep they already are invested to McGowan.

    This contract is the potential reward for the Jays for sticking with this guy for so long. Either way, I think it’s got to be a very rewarding and happy day in the McGowan household.

  18. I think the optimistic scenario (that is not totally unrealistic) is:

    2012: McGowan becomes a 3rd / 4th starter in the rotation. 1.0 – 2.0 WAR.

    That’s a damn fine deal for two years (even inspite of his injury woes).

  19. Perhaps this is the result of some sort of handshake deal where McGowan and AA agreed that McGowan would take a low-dollar (600K), one year salary through the spring, and if McGowan was healthy, they’d work on a extending him for a year or two.

    Here are some reasons why this might make sense:
    1) Insurance. Apparently Ryan Madson’s contract was not insured for the season by the Reds because it was a one-year deal, but I don’t see AA and Rogers taking such a risk. Perhaps after last season, McGowan was still uninsurable (or only insurable with a really high premium) and so the low dollar figure helped cover the Jays risk were he to be injured during the spring. Upon completing the spring healthy (foot inflammation aside), perhaps his new contract is insured and now McGowan is getting fairer value, as the low salary is not necessary to cover risk the way it was before.
    2) AA genuinely believes that McGowan’s shoulder is healthy and doesn’t want a good year by McGowan to lead to him signing a free agent contract elsewhere. In the early 90s, this was known as the Al Leiter debacle. Even if AA wanted to game on his health, why not do this a couple months into the season (when it would still seem kinda crazy)?

    I admit that when McGowan signed in the offseason I thought it was curious there was no team option for a player who was a free agent at the end of the season and into which the Jays had invested so much patience and money. Perhaps the CBA (or labor law, or insurance policies, or some kind of league precedent) compels teams to cover medical expenses if an option is declined on an injured player. Start with a low risk deal, and not a deal that escalates a player’s salary when he makes the major league roster — the team might still be on the hook for the escalated amount if the player was injured in Spring Training, not to mention it brings money (and media attention on the money) into the roster decision. Instead, maybe they agreed to do this: get through the spring healthy, we’ll rewrite the contract in a way that helps us insure you and control a couple more years. You’ll get some guaranteed money.

    Pure speculation. But that’s all there is when a team makes a sort of curious move.

  20. When I first heard the Bowden report my initial reaction was that it’s nuts. Seeing the dollar figures, I’m perfectly fine with this. It’s a gamble, but a worthwhile one IMHO.

    There’s a significant chance this is money down the drain for the Blue Jays, but if McGowan has a solid year in 2012, $3 million over two years will be an outright steal. The guaranteed dollars for McGowan are less than what they gave to Hechavarria, a guy who hadn’t even spent a day in professional baseball.

  21. its called protecting investment, smart move…

  22. Best case scenario: contract of the millennium.
    Worst case scenario: doing right by Dustin McGowan, ensuring he’s taken care of for a couple of years if he flames out.

    I assume at that number (the “like 0.5% of operating costs” level) it doesn’t hurt the team’s ability to sign other players. Little to lose – although, yeah, optics post-start, anyone? Then again, I said the same thing after the Bautista extension and was proven wrong. So I’m going to be satisfied with this contract.

    (Of course, anytime Rogers wants to drop my System Access Fee and up my data to 6GB per month to do right by me, I’m good to go.)

  23. This is what I call a “good karma signing”, club house moral would take a hit if they kicked him to the curb.

    Plus, I’m no expert in waiver transactions but if they try and send him to the minors now with this new deal, will other teams want to pass on him? Anybody know?

  24. i think this is 50% club reputation building, 50% “hey, if he has a good season in him the next 2 years, it’ll be nice to have the team option”

    i doubt they expect WAR-for-their-money is the most likely outcome here. it’s just a possibility that’s worth a risk at this level of financial commitment

  25. The best part of this might be for future player retention. Every single player/draftee who enters the Jays organization will now be shown exhibit A of being loyal to a player through injury.

    Who knows how valuable that is, but it certainly is a helluva nice feel good story anyhow.

    • might be cheaper to just buy all the players blow jobs from call girls, you know if youre looking for a feel good thing

    • I think that’s a great point Ace, especially with the new restrictions on draft spending and international signings. Players will start to put more weight on so-called “intangibles” when the dollars from each tam are the same.

      It wasn’t likely a conscious thought during the negotiation of the deal, but it’s a nice bonus if any players perceive it that way.

  26. I imagine they can send him down for rehab work without clearing waivers, right. This is Tyler Beede’s cash anyhow and McGowan seems to be a good guy.

    • Congratulations to Dustin, he has earned it. My guess is this signing is to get the pro-Snider Bloggers to focus on something other than the demotion issue. This distraction will likely keep them from jumping off the bridge to their collective doom. A small price to pay really.

    • he can be kept in dunedin if need be on the dl for extended spring training. but once up he needs to be on the 25 man roster. to go minors he needs to clear waivers and he will more then likely be plucked for 50k.

  27. I’m not totally against this. It just seems to me that the price is a little high. The Jays paid the guy for three years of recuperation. They’ve done right by him. Seems to me the right amount is 2 for 2 with a 2.5 opition. I guess I can’t bitch too hard about $1 m and 1.5 on the option.

  28. Twitter seems to be up in arms over the fact the Jays have to waste a roster spot on McGowan. Just really can’t find it in my heart to have to say “good bye” to Tristan Magnuson or Danny Farquar some day when guys need to go on the 40 man.

    Getting worked up over this is too much. Much ado about nothing.

  29. But Keith Law said he’s a shadow of what he used to be.
    And when Keith Law proclaims something, it is deemed to be factual truth that can never be proven wrong…

    I’m not directing this comment at anyone in general.. It just seems lately that whenever Keith Law says anything it takes on a life of its own…

  30. I posted this over at Parkes blog as well but I don’t see any downside to this at all. $7m over 3 years (and only 3 is guaranteed) is chicken feed. Yes there’s risk but there’s risk in all types of pitching contracts – Ryan Madson anyone? Looking at the numbers, he’s got to basically put up a total of 1.5 fWAR over 3 years to have been worth it. via FanGraphs methods for valuation.

    With an arm like McGowan’s and future restrictions on the amount of money that can be spent via amateur drafts this could be a very smart thing for the Jays to do. Again there’s no question there’s going to be risk but is it any riskier than dropping a few million on some 16 year old or even a first rounder like Russ Adams or David Purcey?

    When healthy at least McGowan is a known quantity. Look at the contracts Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon both signed. They were of similar value after missing significant time the last few years or being out of baseball completely like Colon was for 2 years. Garcia has been worth 5.5 WAR the last 2 years and Colon 2.4 WAR his first year back. If McGowan comes close to repeating what these guys did then the contract is an outright steal.

    As for the years McGowan is a few years younger than Garcia and Colon.

  31. My first though is that this might be some form or waivers protection. He would be less likely to be claimed with a guaranteed contract. My second thought is to wonder whether there may be language in the contract that ensures the option is picked up if Dustin is claimed on waivers,cutter protecting the Blue Jays investment in McGowan’s rehab. I seem to recall Boston putting a similar clause in the contract of their 26th man reliever a couple years ago.

  32. I guess the only question is the timing. Why not take a “wait and see” approach. The guy wasn’t going to bolt from the club in free agency anyways given how much he owes them thanks to their patience with him.

    Otherwise in terms of money and term I see it as no risk. If he gets hurt he goes to the DL and if he sucks he can be DFA’d. All you lose is cash (and it’s much less cash than what they’ve paid BJ Ryan, Wells, Halladay, etc to not play for the team).

    • Its chump change in the Baseball World, and good PR for the know heart wrenching comeback guy with never-die attitude, gets rewarded. Hope this turns out better than when the Jays did the same thing with Al Lieter. After a long rehab (finger blister I think), he bolted first chance he got. Al sucks

  33. AA has more information than we do for sure. He’s had various doctors poking that guy for three years. He’s got an army of scouts and development staff looking at him and analyzing everything. He must have some vague assurance that the guy is not a total waste. This contract gives us some insight into what all the faceless whasnames in the organization are seeing when they analyze McGowan.

  34. The Jays are looking to capture lightning in a bottle, just like the Yanks did with Colon a year or so ago. The guy was coming off an injury..he was damaged goods, overweight, with the “best years behind him”, etc etc. The Yanks said “What’s the risk?” and signed him to a minor-league contract for less than a million. He went out and got 8 wins for them – not great, but for less than a million, pretty decent return on their dollar.
    McGowan, if everything goes OK, pitches well and is cheap at twice the price – if not, well, it’s not as if they’re throwing AJ Burnett money at him. Long relief in the ‘pen maybe? They’ve got a ton of young guys down on the farm that need a year or two of seasoning still…McGowan, if he’s lucky, keeps that bench warm for those guys coming up.
    All in all…low risk, high reward. Feel good story, to boot.

    • But they already had him signed for this year at just $600K. Why go long term?

      • Because he’s a free agent at the end of the year and if he does pitch well, the Jays don’t want to compete with the open market. Even if he does show loyalty to the Jays, his price would go up substantially. So the Jays go and buy one free agency year(two if they want) on the cheap. The downside is they lose 3M dollars over two years if he’s never able to recover and pitch effectively, which is a drop in the bucket in baseball dollars for a guy with McGowan’s upside.

        The potential reward is substantial and the risk is minimal.

      • Because if he has even a half decent year, some dumb team will offer him at least 5mil per season. Likely closer to 10 mil if he’s anything close to his old self.

        They are clearly convinced his injuries are behind him and that he will be a back of the rotation starter for them for at least this year and next.

        • I’m sorry, but you are dreaming if you think it’s that likely McGowan stays healthy enough, pitches enough, and effectively enough, to get himself a $10-million deal. Could happen, but our whole point is that the Jays have taken out insurance, in the form of locking McGowan up, against what seems like a rather unrealistic possibility in the first place. They’ve seen the medicals, so here’s hoping their right– and here’s acknowledging that even if they aren’t, it’s not such a big deal– but what concerns us, that so many people seem to be missing, is the process here.

  35. This is a classic AA signing. Sign the player before the value explodes – a gamble.

    Same thing he did with Bautista. The injury has nothing to do with the signing, since it’s a minor injury. The point is to sign him before he starts the season and his value skyrockets if he has a strong year.

  36. People applaud the Jays for their overhaul of the scouting system but when they make decisions based on said scouts, they get criticized.

    • Because the scouts are there to balance out their analytics, not replace them. And when the decision seems to be based far more heavily on the scouts than on the data, that’s a problem, yes.

      • You were speaking conceptually, but I don’t see how that applies here at all. What are the analytics that can suggest this is a bad contract? He hasn’t pitched any innings you can evaluate since 2008. The analytics have no idea how to project such a player moving forward.

        What if they took out insurance on this contract, nullifying the risk it will ever be 1.5m completely flushed down the toilet? Would you then not have a problem with it? Or are you actually worried that if he’s healthy he will be unable to provide them with 1.5m of value?

        • Well, I’d argue that analytics that show no innings pitched because he hasn’t been able to stay healthy for three years DO say something. And yes, I think there’s a good possibility that even if he’s healthy he won’t provide value.

          Regardless, you seem to be missing my core point (shocker!), which is that it’s not $1.5-million, but $3-million, since it’s a guaranteed deal for two years, which appears to me entirely unnecessary for a deal negotiated with a player with practically zero leverage.

          • I can definitely see the side of McGowan having zero leverage. I’ve thought AA paid a little too much on ALL of his extensions, from Romero to Morrow to Janssen and anyone else I’m forgetting. I just don’t understand the level of outrage this is being received with, considering the stakes involved.

            Yes, AA has a tendency to overpay for talent (from its perceived current market value) that he’s confident in. No, this hasn’t stung the Blue Jays yet, and in at least one case has worked out tremendously to their advantage. And with regard to this specific deal, the 1.5m will never prevent them from doing other things, so where’s the harm?

            For all we know McGowan was willing to sign for 1.5m in 2013 today, but didn’t want to be giving up 2014 and 2015 in the form of options. AA wanted team control through 2015, and the compromise was a 4m option in 2015 that comes with 1.5m guaranteed in 2014.

          • I don’t quite see where it verges into outrage.

          • the option year also carries a 500k buyout

          • Instant podcast? Gigantic twitter arguments? Calling it “absolutely insane”? That’s a blogger’s outrage.

    • The Jays have had problems landing quality free agent pitchers over the years. This deal highlights that the Jays are an organization that cares about its players. This can transition Toronto from an unknown entity in the minds of American players, to a place they will come to.

  37. Michael Garncarz: huh…?

  38. It’s not a sexy move with McGowan’s injury history, but if (yes, I know, a big if) he turns out to be #4 or #5 starter this is a hell of a deal. Jays sign McGowan while confidence is low – textbook AA. Certainly would costs more if they wanted to resign him this summer (rather than just walk away).

  39. I think the final point made in the article is the best one. They spent $10 Mill as a risk on Hech, and were almost willing to spend $30 On Chapman. McGowan costs $3 and is available now. Best case, he’s Morrow quality for 4 years at the cost of 1 Morrow year. Do I think that will happen? Probably not, but that’s obviously factored into the price. The roster spot isn’t that important. They could release him, and eventually they would if he’s bad enough. I don’t even think they’ll put up with a half a year of Jo Jo quality before releasing. And certainly his stuff is way better.

    • Put another way, if they take 10 “McGowan Sized Risk Players” side by side, how likely would it be for only one of them to succeed? That’s how much Chapman costed.

      Even if they think that it is unlikely McGowan will be great, it could still be very worth the price. I wouldn’t be surprised if Alex has a formula with “price” and “risk” in it. Maybe he only thinks McGowan’s chances at being great are 15%. Still maybe worth the price he paid.

    • How is McGowan’s ceiling now Morrow? That is complete BS and not grounded in reality. M
      Best case scenario is McGowan is a 3-5 starter and stays healthy. Morrow led the league in K/9.

      • I think they see McGowan’s upside as being mid-to-front range. Of course, his K/9 won’t ever touch Morrow..

        Regardless, my point remains.. they could think there is a greater likelihood that he NOT reach his upside, or even that injury issues continue to plague him, and for this deal to still make sense. Like I said, I bet they’ve got a formula with “injury risk” and “upside risk” in it, or something like that, and it spits out a dollar value, even if the risk is >50%. That’s exactly the kind of thing AA loves to do. They are only guaranteeing him half of a single season of Morrow money, for three years.

  40. 1 thing i think we need to keep in mind is the value of McGowan as a reliever. With him in tow for 3 years now, when we have youngsters coming up & pushing for a spot in the rotation its way more then likely mcgowan will get moved to the bullpen in my eyes, which tells me maybe they see him as a great setup man, maybe in a 1 inning situation they think he can hit 97 on the radar gun & be straight nasty in an 8th inning role & take cordero’s spot at a very cheap price for 2-3 years. IDK, just something i think might be missed, cause I can’t see the club inking him to this deal & thinking, ok, your our starter for 3 years, i think he has a ton of potential in the bullpen as well.

    and one more thing, im assuming this is a 1 way contract, if it happens to be a 2 way (can be sent to the minors) then this deal makes a ton of sense, as they may be worried he needs more time to get back into the swing of things & AA or AAA is the best place to do it, but right now they don’t have an option to be able to send him down to the minors to work on things, so if this happens to be a 2 way contract that gives them the ability to do so without hindering the performance of their big league club.

  41. Well I am sold…at least it says to me.. we will spend the money to take a chance. Plus this is a good time to get it done, give the guy no worries as he pitches this season. There is nothing worse than trying to play a game with your mind on some thing else. Personally I just hope he doesn’t have too much of a problem with the feet….Its fucking painful.

  42. We sometimes forget that baseball players are real people and that even in business sometimes the boss rewards someone for being a good loyal employee. Dustin has worked his butt off and done everything the Jays asked of him to beat the odds and come back. By all accounts he is viewed as a great person and this contract seems to be a reward for all of that. Sure he could pitch next week blow his shoulder and retire, but I beat the jays would honour the contract and take him in another role within the organization. This contract while risky from a player value stand point does more to show that the Jays take care of their own and they are the best organization on the inside and out. It is the same reason why they treat their scouts better then any other organization giving them a smaller region to cover and more days off to be at home with family. AA is creating and organization that everyone from players to scouts to front office people dream of working for and one that noone wants to leave aka Tony La Cava.

    • The Jays wouldn’t have any choice but to honour the contract, which is kinda the point. I get what you’re saying– though I think LaCava’s decision was less about staying in Toronto than it was about not going to Baltimore– but people are acting like either the Jays could have either done THE RIGHT THING (this), or THE WRONG THING (anything else), with very little middle ground. They wouldn’t have been doing more than enough right by him if they’d waited a few starts before signing a deal? If they hadn’t offered a second guaranteed year? Simply by keeping him and paying him to rehab all the way along? I don’t think the Jays would have had to hide from their treatment of McGowan AT ALL before this.

      • Maybe they did have to hide from their previous treatment of him. After all he was diagnosed with rotator cuff at the end of 2007 or was it 2006? And instead of surgery it was kept hush hush and like a good trooper he pitched for them the next year and sure enough injured his shoulder again.

        That was the same group that had Burnett throw 130 pitches on his first start back from injury and then publicly lambaste him.

        Toronto needs to change how they are viewed across the league and I think AA is changing that.

  43. Maybe this contract extension was agreed to and signed BEFORE the foot injury and was just annouced today.

    • I don’t think there’s any question that’s the case. That’s why AA was downplaying the injury yesterday. These contracts don’t materialize over 24 hours.

  44. u just seem to be playing devils advocate on this and want to stick to your argument because of the backlash. I see your point. but the gamble wasn’t that big. it might give the kid more confidence and be more relaxed. this small gamble might work. it might not. thats baseball. some shit doesn’t work out. you never know. I’m not mad at this extension at all. *shrugs*

    • I’m not really mad about it either. I maybe think it’s more worth questioning than a lot of the clods around here seem to believe, but it’s hardly awful. It’s just… weird.

      • Agreed. In that sense, everything they do is worth questioning. But at the end of the day, the team will not sink or swim based on it’s $1.5 mil/season contracts. Save your energy/analysis for the big issues. Like:

        Should they extend Kelly Johnson?

        What’s the long term solution / back up plan at first? (I know constantly writing about Lind gets boring)

        Would the money doled out this winter to Frasor, Janssen, Laffey, and McGowan have been better used if it was wrapped up and given to a single veteran innings eater?

        • Save my energy??? I post like five times a day. How many of those, over the course of a year, can be about whether or not to extend Kelly Johnson?

          Yes, it gives the appearance of certain non-issues (like this one) being of far more importance than they are in reality, but… save my energy? Pffft.

          Also, I must say, I kinda suspect it wouldn’t be suggested I do so if I was swimming with the tide on this one.

  45. Much ado about nothing.

    If there was a free agent pitcher this offseason that sat mid-90s with his fastball and can dominate at times with a good slider, but was battling back from injuries, and the Jays signed him for the next 2 seasons for $3 mil total plus a team option at $4 mil, you would have called it a very shrewd move.

    Now I understand in that hypothetical that the player was on the open market, whereas McGowen they already had signed. That’s a big difference. But still, there is nothing wrong with this move. It cheaper than an extension mid-season would have been if he performs well.

    Keep in mind that the team has seen WAY more of this guy than we have. Just because YOU haven’t seen enough of him to be convinced that it’s time to extend him, that doesn’t mean that the Jays haven’t seen enough of him to be convinced. This guy has been in their system for 10 years. I don’t think they have very many questions left to ask.

    • I’m sorry, but no, I don’t think anyone would have called it a shrewd move to lock up somebody coming back from multiple catastrophic injuries and sign him to a multi-year deal. A single year flier, sure. And maybe that’s practically what the Jays have done here, with the PR benefit of making it look like they truly believe in him, but since he was already under contract, it just seems unnecessary at this point. Awful nice of them.

      I gotta say, judging by some of your comments, I think you’re grossly overestimating how likely it is for someone to come back from these kinds of injuries. Looks nice so far, and maybe it really does work out, but I truly believe fans are confusing hopefulness with likeliness of a continued setback-free return. And I don’t think it’s wrong to wonder if the club is doing the same, even though, yes, they’ve seen more of him. Doesn’t change the long odds for anyone of coming back from two rotator cuff surgeries.

      • Everything you said there I can’t argue with. I think you hit the nail on the head in terms of fan expectations being too high, but I don’t count myself in that camp.

        I feel like realistically, best-case scenario for McGowan is the 5th starter position, going 120 innings this year and 150 innings next. Worst-case scenario is Vegas or Single A (I can’t imagine them wasting a spot in New Hampshire on a guy ending his career). The truth will lay somewhere between those two extremes. I look around the league, and see similar if not worse contracts than that for that type of player.

        What I may be underestimating is the injury situation. I thought he was done 2 years ago. Now that he’s back on the mound with normal velocity, I’m inclined to believe that he has actually made it back already and now he’s just working on his performance. THAT may end up being the biggest error in my thinking.

        Time will tell. Thanks for the counterpoints!

  46. He might be able to turn into a serviceable late-innings reliever. 1.5 Mil seems like a decent deal even he doesn’t make the rotation.

  47. [...] people were surprised when the Jays chose to extend McGowan for another three years in March 2012. He didn’t throw a single pitch in 2012 and underwent [...]

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