Archive for the ‘Dustin McGowan’ Category

Gregor Chisholm lays the following tweet on us:

Not exactly surprising news, but actually… potentially great news.

No, not because of any sort of newfound ill will towards McGowan and his contract, or his guaranteed rotation spot when healthy, but because it potentially extends the battle for the Jays’ last spot between Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek.

I don’t think Drabek looked quite as good yesterday against the Yankees as some of the reports on him suggested– getting bailed out of one inning on a great throw to the plate from Colby Rasmus, and having Andruw Jones hit him hard, but foul, in the fourth, after a hard A-Rod double and a walk to Ibanez– but he looked plenty OK. And while I’m well aware that velocity isn’t everything, and that I’m basing this view on scant looks and whatever information has come out of camp, I’d bet on Drabek having better success right now in the big leagues than Brett Cecil.

I don’t know that the Jays will be willing to make the switch by the time McGowan gets back, but anything Drabek can do to show that he’s progressing beyond last year’s disasterfuck is probably a good thing, in terms of letting the club feel confident in pulling the plug on Cecil once he starts repeatedly getting his ass handed to him.

Speaking of, Cecil pitches today, but it’s in a minor league game, in order to hide him from the OriLOLes [note: really?], who he’s scheduled to face early in the season. Ryan Tepera, who is apparently a real thing, gets the start for the Jays Major Leaguers, with eight of the club’s nine Opening Day hitters in the lineup against Baltimore’s Dana Eveland.

At Miked Up, Mike Wilner has very kindly posted the audio of the presser to announce the extending of Dustin McGowan, so apparently we still have more of this to take care of before I can move on with my damn life. The highlights:

- Anthopoulos says that, while he’s not opposed to getting a contract done in the middle of a season, he’d done it with Ricky Romero, “and it was just an incredible time sink.” So, that’s one reason that they decided to just go for it now, and not create a distraction for the player.

- He later adds that if it had happened during the season, he would have done this as well.

- He acknowledges that they’ve definitely taken a risk, because of McGowan’s history of shoulder problems, but he praised McGowan and his work ethic as being a reason he felt more comfortable with the deal. He knows, he said, that McGowan isn’t going to fail to put in the work necessary to be as good a player as he can be– something that we’ve obviously seen over the course of his three years in the rehab wilderness.

- “Even when Mac came up last year,” Anthopoulos said, “even though the numbers weren’t great, from a scouting standpoint I loved what I saw. I loved the delivery, you love the stuff. But at the same time we’re not blind to the fact that, yeah, there’s a tonne of risk here.”

- “In this division, with what we’re up against and what we have to do, we have to take a little bit more risk– or maybe a lot more risk– than the other teams, and maybe that’s part of it.”

- As he said when he signed Jose Bautista, “I’ll take the risk on the right human being. If you bet on the human being, you’ll be fine.”

- Anthopoulos praised the work of the club’s medical staff, saying that when they say “stick with this guy, stick with this guy,” it’s hard to ignore. “We were going to see this thing through, start to finish,” Anthopoulos says, “good or bad.” Clearly he didn’t want to get Lowen’d.

- On the subject of the two year deal, Anthopoulos said that this was at the request of the club, and it was mostly due to the fact that the club understands they have to build him up slowly, which this gives them the time to do.

McGowan Madness Follow-Up

Greetings from one of history’s greatest monsters! You know, one of those heartless assholes who sat down in a podcast studio yesterday– like we’ll be doing on a regular basis when major news breaks this season– to remark on just how odd it was that the Jays would bother signing a guaranteed deal for 2013 and 2014 with a pitcher who has thrown all of 21 big league innings since 2008.

This wholly benign and perfectly reasonable confusion has led to a tidal wave of froth coming at Parkes, Drew and I, for reasons that I can’t quite understand either– at least when they emanate from anyone who was able to comprehend what fans’ reaction would have been if the Baltimore OriLOLes had done a thing like this.

Compounding the confusion is the fact that I still actually feel the need to write about this, a deal which we acknowledged from the get-go was rather insignificant, monetarily– rather insignificant, monetarily he repeated for the umpteenth goddamn time– but was the result of processes that very obviously resonate better with fans overly hopeful that all will be right with a pitcher with so much unrealized potential than those of us who look at the should-be-completely-uncontroversial observation that 30-year-old pitchers who are trying to come back from a pair of rotator cuff surgeries have a ridiculously low success rate and say, yep, that makes sense.

Or… actually, I guess I know why I feel the need to keep writing about it: because I can’t escape this story, on Twitter, and especially in the comments of yesterday’s posts.

Yet in some minds we’re the ones forcing the issue, devoting far too much attention to something that we fully acknowledge is pretty trivial.

SIGH.

No. It’s just there has been so much incoherent pushback on this that it kinda blows my fucking mind, and I’m having a really difficult time letting it go by unnoticed. It’s about the money and not the term and the timing? We’re basing all this on one Keith Law scouting report from one three-inning start? We’re underselling the value of showing faith in a player? We haven’t seen his medicals or him pitching this spring, so we should shut the fuck up and fall in line?

My god, people. We all recognize that, at its very worst, this deal is hardly likely to ever have any kind of tangible impact on future transactions the club wants to make– save for maybe the odd bit of maneuvering at the very bottom of the roster, which isn’t nothing, but hardly qualifies as an outrage. That’s not the point.

What’s interesting about the deal, and worth questioning and debating, is the fact that the Jays have done something rather counterintuitive here by– again– guaranteeing a contract for the 2013 and 2014 seasons to a player they already control and who has pitched only 21 MLB innings since 2008.

We’ve heard a lot of interesting takes on why that might be. In fact, in the post I wrote about it, I wondered if this was indicative of a new paradigm in baseball, where what once was money allocated to the draft is being repurposed as the new CBA incentivises clubs to invest more in their big league roster. Others have suggested that it doesn’t need to be viewed any differently than a $3.5-million 1-year extension, with the added benefit of gaining extra team control and a show of faith in the player. Others still wonder if it will prevent clubs from claiming McGowan on waivers if the Jays ever feel the need to send him down, or if it might be a way to keep McGowan from filing a grievance if the Jays want to make some creative use of the DL.

All of these notions may be flawed, but they’re interesting and constructive to discuss.

What’s not interesting to talk about– yet not worth quietly swallowing, either– are those views that we need to shut up, not worry about it, admit that because everybody says so we’re wrong, stop griping about money that isn’t ours, stop telling us how unlikely it is he’ll be able to stay healthy, and just accept it, because the front office knows better than we do.

I don’t think I should have to explain to anyone why that’s so.

So… that’s where we’re at. It’s not nearly so far apart as all the histrionics might make it appear, I don’t think.

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.

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Dustin McGowan left in the second inning of his minor league start today, with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. “After throwing four high pitches, McGowan threw down his glove, pointed to his foot and summoned a trainer,” said Jays TV analyst Pat Tabler, who was in attendance, according to John Lott in the National Post.

He’s listed as day-to-day, “although plantar fasciitis can require an extended period to heal,” Lott notes.

It’s an unfortunate setback for a less-than-rock-solid back end of the Jays rotation, but as the fifth starter, McGowan might not be needed much during the first part of April anyway. With an off-day in each of the first three weeks of April, the club can skip some starts from their fifth starter, mitigating the loss– not that Kyle Drabek, the way he’s pitched this spring, would necessarily be a step down from McGowan anyway, quite frankly.

So… there’s that.

After yesterday’s heavy dose of realism, Jays fans demanded that Keith Law, the obliterator of all their little hopes and dreams, come forth and defend his absurd views on Dustin McGowan!

Or… probably it was just his contract with TSN Radio. Or maybe they just asked.

Either way, KLaw hit the airwaves– the free, public airwaves that I can quote anything from with a clear conscience, I should add– this afternoon and elaborated on what he saw yesterday when he took in the epic Grapefruit League tilt between the Jays and the Astros in Kissimmee.

And, actually, he skipped a lot of the stuff about McGowan. Or… probably I just tuned in a little too late to catch it.

What I did hear was pretty seriously awesome, especially where two the players I’d like to see the Jays not dick around are concerned: Kyle Drabek and Travis Snider.

He also talked Anthony Gose, Travis d’Arnaud, about the back of the rotation in general, and followed up his piece from yesterday with some activity in the comments.

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It’s not often that Keith Law posts an entire piece about the Jays, which means that it’s not often that I have to worry about having to toe the line on just how much of his work it’s appropriate to post here. It’s well worth it to get ESPN Insider– even just for KLaw’s work alone– and I wouldn’t want to devalue that (in whatever tiny way I’m capable of) by quoting too much of his report today on the Jays he saw face Houston, so… I guess we’ll just go with the Coles Notes version. Law’s piece is far more elaborate:

- Law was unimpressed with McGowan, who he calls “a shadow of what he used to be.” Ouch. Apparently he was most unimpressed by how long it took for McGowan to get up to his top velocity of 95 and 96, and his “soft-breaking slider that you can see pretty early out of his hand.”

- The report on Kyle Drabek is much better. He “looked solid with a new, more controlled delivery and increased use of a two-seamer with sharp sinking action.” Law was especially impressed with his new mechanics, landing spot, and the consistency with which he was able to stay in line and not fall off the mound. He also liked the cutter Drabek threw “at 87-88 that looked just the like fastball out of his hand, allowing him to use it in changeup counts.”

- A couple interesting notes from the pair battling for the Jays left field position, as Law says that Eric Thames got a pair of cheap hits on outfield misplays, and that Travis Snider’s lone bright spot– a hard double– was extra bright, since it was on “a ball he wouldn’t have gotten to last year with his hands set up higher than they are now.”

- He also had notes on prospects Travis d’Arnaud, Jake Marisnick, and Anthony Gose– who laid down an “unfieldable” bunt for a hit.