From the mouth of John Gibbons down at the Rogers Centre, apparently Dustin McGowan is moving back where ol’ Gibbers always wanted him to be: the bullpen.
According to a tweet from Megan Robinson of Sportsnet says the Jays aren’t ready to name a starter to take his place yet, but according to a separate tweet it’s either Stroman or Redmond who will get the call. (It won’t be Sean Nolin, as he’s just been placed on Buffalo’s DL with a g-g-groin, a g-g-groin, a g-g-groin injury).
“I saw no reluctance, he’s happy either way, and I think it’ll prolong his career,” added the middle-management grunt who one would seem to think is behind this decision.
Oh, sure, there’s got to be more to it than that. Plus, maybe it’s entirely fair that Gibbons, whose neck will be the first one on the line if this thing starts going south (which it hasn’t yet, FYI), has a lot of say over personnel decisions like that are so meaningful to the way that he runs the club — in particular, with the makeup of his bullpen. Obviously he likes McGowan back there, and obviously McGowan was struggling, even if you generously throw out the starts before he started using the insulin pump, as I attempted to do earlier.
Most telling of why the move was made, perhaps, is a tweet from Chris Toman, who notes that Gibbons says McGowan wasn’t recovering quickly enough as a starter. I might be suspicious of that being a post-hoc excuse for a knee-jerk decision to get the manager the bullpen he always wanted, but it certainly jibes with the planned six-man rotation stuff we were hearing about before Brandon Morrow went down.
Is it at all surprising to think that, from a physical standpoint, being in the rotation may have simply been wearing on him too much, and that’s what we’re seeing in the results, the too many balls left up, the velocities perhaps even lower than we’d expect from a guy making the transition to the rotation? Given his injury history, his diabetes, and the lack of innings in recent years, no I don’t think it is.
It’s the kind of inside information that, had it been available at the time, may have wholly changed the analysis of the situation, which… is easy for me to say, innit?
I still would have liked to see him get a few more turns (OK, one, at the very least), get a chance to get his stamina up, and to really sink his teeth into the role, given that it’s seemed like he’s been a different pitcher since the in-game insulin pump, but apparently he hasn’t been better enough. The innings have declined in each start in which he didn’t have an extra day of rest — six in Pittsburgh, five against the Angels, four plus last night — and the ground balls haven’t been there, the swinging strikes and strikeouts haven’t been there, so it’s defensible. It’s just… are we supposed to be pulling for Happ to save his job now?? Not sure I like where this is going, even if it was probably inevitable.
And now reporters are telling us that McGowan says the decision to remove him from the rotation was mutual, and “felt like it was a weight off my shoulder” — as quoted in a tweet from John Lott. Mike Wilner tweets that McGowan says he’s sore four days after a start, fine on the 5th. Said he’d have loved a couple more starts, but was risking injury.” Chris Toman notes that, fortunately, it was body pain that McGowan mostly has been suffering, and that his arm has felt fine.
So it goes.