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.

Comments (126)

    • again with the stupid comments.

      • Lol go fuck yourself. I love guys who comment on blogs anonymously acting like their so much better than everyone else. I think he’s better suited for the pen and I am happy about the move, that makes me stupid? You’re a joke.

        • Fuck off. It’s stupid to celebrate the fact that McGowan is back to the pen because it would be a 1000% better if he could have stuck in the rotation.

          • Bang on. Quit being an idiot, Riggs.

            • I’ll stop, but I’m not celebrating his failure, I meant celebrate that the management has finally realized it’s best to move him to the pen. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that! Maybe some of you disagree and think he should stay in the rotation, but if the front office thinks it am I so wrong as to also believe it? No, the answer is no. Now lets hope either Redmond or Stroman takes the reigns and gives us some much needed innings!

          • Everybody just fuck everybody

        • Riggs, I think it’s fine for you to have an opinion. I thought Dusty looked sickly a few starts back, so I will also celebrate his ‘lateral transfer’ to the pen.
          Freedom of expression, muthafuckas!

  1. I’m sorry, the comeback story was great but he clearly isn’t the best option for the rotation, and I strongly believe Stroman fares better on a starting pitchers schedule.

    • I hope ‘schedule’ helps solidify his stuff.

      • Wait, you’re seriously questioning Stroman’s stuff? The “stuff” that scouts have been raving about for more than two years now, and that allowed him make AAA hitters look like little leaguers?

        • his slider is great. the other stuff needs more work. we’ve already seen enough proof of why, in my opinion. i don’t see anyone that’s more likely to give you innings than mcgowan in the system at this point. seems like a lateral move at best to me.

        • No doubt he’s good, and I remain optimistic, but it’s not just the defence behind him that has been making him get smacked around.

      • It’s often been said some guys find a huge difference in pitching on a rotation and coming out of the pen.

    • Hope you’re right but stroman has not fared well at all. Would rather see Redmond and stroman in aaa not eating up service time doing poorly to mediocre

  2. He was awesome in the bullpen last year; hopefully this works out for him and he’s a vital cog down there for years to come.

  3. This is okay. Hopefully Happ’s leash is equally close to getting yanked. I don’t know who I would use to replace him, but I’d rather have him throw 100 pitches over 3+ innings out of the BP than as a starter.

  4. If Stroman takes McGowan’s place, who’s in line for Happ’s spot? You’d sorta have to think Nolin for upside, but he’s had control or hitability (or both) problems in 3 of his last 4 starts so that wouldn’t exactly be riding the hot hand.

    Maybe Redmond? I really hope not Rogers.

    • I’d guess redmond over rogers for sure.

      I don’t see them calling anyone else up, unless they think hendricks is a thing now.

      • There are tons of reasons to think Hendriks ISN’T a thing, but he was fairly highly touted as a prospect and he’s still only 25. I think his performance this year has been enough to warrant an opportunity to prove he can’t do it if a spot opens up.

  5. I don’t like the move because Dusty has shown glimpses of being a decent back end starter and really there is no one at this point that is guaranteed to fair any better.

    I guess we’ll see what happens.

  6. Why pay 3M for him to rehab and then bail after a few starts ?

    Easy to put Redmond or Stroman in his spot, but what then if Happ sucks or someone else goes down?

    I don’t agree. He needed more time

    • i agree.

      the guy hasn’t been a starter in 5 years, it was going to take time for it to pay off.

      but with gibby wanting him back in the pen, and stroman not working out in there i guess it was a matter of time

  7. J.A. Happ is now the 4th starter.

    It’s almost like the Jays should have upgraded their rotation during the offseason.

    • with what money?

    • Rogers could’ve let AA go out and get one of those FA pitchers if they wanted, they did not.

      We can’t see their books, but come on. They own the stadium and the network, and they command a national tv audience alone – save for specialty tv deals. They also play in the 5th largest market without another mlb competitor anywhere nearby.

      This has to be one of the most advantageous sports-business infrastructures you’re going to find. They can behave like someone who wants to win if they would like to.

      • They do have competitors. There’s other sports in Toronto that people happen to like, teams they worship. I don’t think the Jays will ever be able to compete with the Leafs and hockey, even if they won the division.

        • Except the leafs have been done for a month now. The crowds that were coming out to the park during the glory years show you what a winning team will do to excite the city and get people talking baseball. Over 4 million in attendance per year from 1991 through 1993. People were talking Jays everywhere. This would happen again if they could field a winning team.

        • Were you around from ’88 to ’93?
          They had over 50K in the house every night
          and the attention of the entire country.

  8. The billions Rogers have at their disposal

    • Rogers doesn’t have billions at their disposal, but more importantly this particular branch of the corporate structure certainly doesn’t. Read the 10-Q or 10-K

  9. Seems weird to me. He was giving back end numbers which was what this club should have expected. Also, can they expect better from the replacements?

  10. Lott says Redmond or Stroman taking the spot.

    Todd Redmond has a career 30.3 GB%

    there are only 10 starting pitchers with more than 100 IP since 2012 with a GB% under 35%:
    Chris Young, Bruce Chen, Phil Hughes, Mike Fiers, Johan Santana, AJ Griffin, Jered Weaver, Colby Lewis, Tony Cingrani, and Travis Wood.

    there’s actually more decent names there than i thought. maybe it’s not impossible for Redmond to have some sustained success.

  11. Don’t like the timing of this at all. Dusty should have been given 1 more start, or at least Gibby should have waited until Happ’s start today to make sure he doesn’t get lit up worse than McGowan. I know its a small sample size, but last 4 starts Dusty’s numbers aren’t THAT bad. Over 5 innings per start, an ERA under 4 a fip in the 4.5 range and that includes the shit kicking he took last night.

    Add that we only really have 1 guy who could start in the majors right now, that being Stroman, I really don’t see why we wouldn’t wait until at least tomorrow morning to determine who won the battle for the rotation spot between McGowan and Happ.

  12. If only there were some pitcher with relatively good upside available on a one year deal for a reasonable price this past offseason to fill in inevitable holes like this (and Happ)…

    • I was thinking trade as well. I know Gibby was dying to have McGowan back in the pen, but Happ is a million times worse in my mind and should be the first to go. Yes, McGowan’s start sucked yesterday and so did our bullpen, but in part, I think it was also that Cleveland was just having a great game offensively. His other starts post-pump were decent. Happ, I’m just sick of.

      • Happ has barely pitched, and you’re sick of him? Nonsense.

        Forgot last spring and April when he was the only pitcher doing anything for this club? Y’know, until he got hit in the head with a line drive and simultaneously fucked his knee?

        He’s probably going to suck, but no need to totally lose perspective, is there?

        • Agreed, he was great last year and I was rooting for him to come back strong after his injury. I don’t even know why I hate him so much this year, to be honest. It’s not rational, I know.

  13. wow the jays are as “stupid” as all the “trolls” on DJF

  14. I’m betting Steve Tolleson is now in the rotation.

  15. we were complaining about McGowan’s inability to miss bats this year, but even his career K/9 as a starter is just 7.08

  16. Strongly disagree.
    I think we all knew the time would come when he would either be shelved for the year or moved to the pen because of the fact his innings count have been minimal the past few years…but NOW? Hey at least we have several viable candidates to choose from…and Happ is proving he is front end starter…and Stroman has dominated in the limited innings from the pen…and oh wait…fuck…

  17. This is all Gibbons. He’s telling AA my butt is on the line…let me go down on my terms. Reality is that Gibbons was a terrible hire and both of them will be gone by the end of the year.

    • Your insider knowledge is amazing. You should be doing this as a career.

      • Sounds like he’s a fly on the wall with all of this “inside” knowledge.

    • Dumb, though I wouldn’t be surprised that it’s based on a lot of input from Gibbons.

    • Do people actually think Gibby is the one to blame for shit? What has he done wrong?

      • Exactly. He may not be Tony LaRussa but he is a decent field manager.

        • Do you think the gm was telling Larussa who to have in the pen and bullpen? Think if gibby wanted mcgowen in the pen from the start that’s the way it should have been. AA should not be dictating roster construction of the 25 man roster that is the managers job and expertise. AA going to dictate what the batting order should be too? Think gibby should have full control of this stuff and the jays will be better off. AA just decide who are the 25 gibby from there

  18. If this was actually a better-run organization, McGowan should of still been held in the bullpen as his max. This is a team that really threw itself deeper into mediocrity after the Dickey and Miami trade, and has not been doing a good job of picking the right years to know they suck and properly throw in their farm arms in the bigs as a YOLO move.

    • Dumb.

      • Quelle surprise, Stoets calls something a user of his site says ‘dumb’! It had only been five minutes since that last happened!

        Stoets, how about a post where you write ‘things I learned’ from my readers? I bet it would be brief, but it would also make you appreciate a few things.

    • Should have. Should have.

      Should of, is a grade school mistake.

      I hate being grammar police.

      Should have.

  19. Is Shaun Marcum still a free agent?

  20. Um, didn’t Stroman get shit bombed worse tban McGowan yesterday?

    • They don’t make decisions based on one game.

    • I refuse to believe that McGowan, Stroman, and Wagner were all really THAT bad yesterday. By the time they got to Stroman, they already had momentum and were just having a great game. I can’t wait to see Stroman start, personally. I’m just sad that it’s likely in place of McGowan rather than Happ.

  21. what? this makes no sense

  22. one can only hope the starter for next Sunday’s game is the Shark

  23. Another aspect of this move is the addition of another hard-throwing late-inning guy to the pen.

  24. Does Drew Hutchinson have an innings count this season?

    And if so will he be shut down in September whether the Jays are in a playoff race or not?

    • I think they’ve said he’s good to go, innings wise. Threw more than people realize last year, and in years before TJ, I think. (Too lazy to look it up right now, but I’ve quoted it before.)

  25. It’s pretty clear at this point that Stroman has a higher upside than Dusty. It’s time to get him into the rotation and see what he can do. Hopefully McGowan can go back to the pen and be as good as he was last year.

    I think Redmond could be a useful Carlos Villanueva type, being the long guy and starting 10 or 12 games a year, but I’d probably kick a hobo if he got the spot in the rotation.

  26. Hendriks surely deserves a shot at some point. 16.6 K/BB in Buffalo, damn.

    • SSS!!!

    • It’s Buffalo, home of the Kawasakis and Getzes and Johnsons and LaRoches of the world.

      And he was pretty bad in the majors with the Twins, and a very Twins-y guy (low 90s topping strike thrower). Pretty bland, pretty much just back-end fodder, regardless of what the Buffalo numbers say.

      Would be nice if he’s found something, for sure, but I’ll believe it when I see it.

      • True on all points, but let me dream. 25 year old former top prospect with great numbers all through the minors. And a low 90s strike-thrower is still better than a high 90s non-strike-thrower, as we’re all too familiar with.

      • What’s wrong with giving him a shot ? He has pitched really well in Buffalo. He looks like he might be able to go 6 or 7. We don’t need great pitching just not terrible.

  27. Sure hope it’s Stroman. This team needs to try a guy who at LEAST has the potential to be better than replacement value.

  28. It’s unfortunate that it didn’t work out (as this team’s rotation remains its biggest problem), but I never liked the timing of this experiment. Back to the bullpen where he seems far more suited now at least.

  29. Gotta be Redmond. If Gibby is doing it to save his ass, it’s hard to imagine him going with Stroman after what he’s looked like in limited mlb action so far. I would take Redmond over Stro and Happ at this point. I don’t care if he struggles the third time through a lineup. That’s what the oversized bullpen is for.

  30. Duuun dun duuun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun BOM BOM dun dun dun dun dun dun doo dedoo doo dedoo dede doo dede doo dededoo

  31. Holy shit. Everyone is losing their minds over moving him to the bullpen where he’ll likely have more success? I’m willing to bet they’re the same people calling for Stroman to get some starts ASAP, now that he likely will, you’re pissing and moaning about moving Dusty to the pen? Fuck me I hope they both are lights out going forward just to shut the morons up.

  32. I am lost for words with this. I don’t know what to say about this starting pitching staff other than Buehrle.

  33. I think McGowan will be a really good reliever.

    So I guess the question is, would you rather have an average to below average starter, or a really good reliever?

    And I think the answer to that varies by team and by year. At this point, frankly, I think I’d rather have him in the rotation.

    • Except it’s likely he’ll be replaced by an average or below average starter so we’d have both, no?

      • Yes but I think Redmond and Stroman are both going to be worse as starters, and we need SP more right now

  34. it’s true Redmond averaged less than 5 IP per start last year, but he also averaged just 83 pitches per start, probably an artifact of a pitch count as they got him stretched out.

    also, because i’m feeling optimistic today, wading through the very small sample of Marcus Stroman’s major league career, it’s worth noting that despite concerns about plane and height, he’s posted a 57.1 GB% so far.

  35. one way to look at this is that Stroman or Redmond are unlikely to be worse than what McGowan has produced so far in the rotation, but McGowan is fairly likely to be better than what Redmond or Stroman are doing out of the pen. that’s less true for Redmond, who has been solid this year, but McGowan will be used in more high leverage situations, which makes him more valuable.

    overall it comes out a win, even if Stroman/Redmond aren’t particularly good in the rotation.

    • Or to put it slightly differently, the odds of Redmond or Stroman being worse as an SP are lower than McGowan’s odds of being better as an RP,

      • Um, i think i got lower and higher reversed. But you get the point. To distract from my stupidity, … Boston lost today!

  36. The real disappointment of this shit rotation is Brendan Morrow. Relying on him and paying him 8M this year and they will probably buy his 10M option next year so he can go out and hurt something 1 month into the season..

  37. Please would anyone who gives any sort of blame towards Gibby just fuck right off.

  38. It’s disappointing to see Dusty encounter difficulties in the starting rotation. But given how the rotation was so poorly planned, is it really a surprise?

    Fact is that Dusty has difficulty commanding his change and curve and lefties were killing him, especially the second and third time through the lineup. And when he is not locating his 4 and 2 seamers down and not burying his slider, Dusty becomes very hittable.

    The hope is that Dusty can find an effective role in the bullpen. Preferably as a one or two inning ROOGY type where he can rely more on his FB and slider combo.

    As for Dusty’s replacement, one would think that they will go with Redmond (on a short leash one would assume) before calling upon Stroman. I just don’t have a ton of confidence that Happ is going to give enough quality innings at this stage. So his replacement could very well be Stroman or Nolin.

    Fuck, with Morrow on the 60 day DL and potentially out for the balance of the season, AA must be fretting over his low balling FA starters all off season. The Jays are very thin once you get past the top 3.

    • He needs to take a good look at how Cecil turned around his career and became an extremely valuable arm in the bullpen. I won’t close out McGowan’s career as a starter just yet. Dustin is on spot start duty right now out of the bullpen and needs to be ready when Gibby calls on him.

      What sucks in all of this is that Morrow can’t seem to avoid the DL.

  39. Soooo many AAAA starters in this org:


    Fuck just go splurge on the Shark or a big name already!

  40. Farrell managing for the save in Minny today in extras/et Miller pitch the 10th instaed of Uehara. His team did not get the chance to bat again. WShen will these dopey managers ever learn. The save-the most overrated stat going FFS

  41. BOOM

  42. Fat one by Phat Juan.

  43. tabby “wouldn’t shock me if he hits a ball hard”

    wow thanks tabby for the great insight

  44. There is a huge difference in being a successful starter in the majors vs the minors. Why the need to rush Stroman into the rotation? He needs to show that he can retire the side in order a couple of times first when called upon. Go through an inning or two unscathed and use his pitches.

    Happ pitched a nice game against Cleveland so he’s earned the right to stay in the rotation for at least another start or two. That last start was a building block for him and he can be even better than that. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but his fastball is deceptive and it gets on the hitters quickly, especially against lefties. When he’s on and uses his breaking pitches with the fastball, he could be like Buehrle with more velocity. Happ runs into trouble like any other pitcher on the staff when his pitches start to creep up in the zone. This was McGowan’s demise as a starter so it’s back to the bullpen for him.

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