There’s no doubt that, at his best, Dustin McGowan is a hell of a pitcher.  There’s also no doubt that Dustin McGowan has been injured more than just about any pitcher in baseball over the past four years.  All told, he missed 536 games before coming back at the end of 2011, or more than 3¼ seasons .  And as Dustin pointed out yesterday, it’s not like he was the picture of healthy before that either.  So obviously, the first thing you want to do with Dustin McGowan is to sign him to a contract extension.  Now, to be fair, it’s pretty damn reasonable, in that it only guarantees him somewhere around $3 million for 2013 and 2014 combined, but there really aren’t a lot of ways this could work out for Toronto, based on his injury history.

Here are, as far as I can figure, the 15 most likely potential outcomes:

1. Dustin McGowan tears a ligament in his elbow signing the new deal.

2. McGowan’s strains his shoulder in his last pre-season start; back to the 60 day DL.

3. McGowan survives Spring Training, getting all of Canada’s hopes up, before contracting lupus.

4. McGowan slams his index finger in a car door after a 6 inning, 1 run performance in May, breaking it.

5. McGowan forgets his shower shoes, and slips on the slick tile in the locker room.  Falls and breaks coccyx.

6. Something is wrong with Dustin McGowan, but nobody can figure out what it is.  He’s sent to Dr. House, who spends an entire episode almost killing him, and treating him for cancer, before finding out it’s some kind of bacterial infection.  The emergency chemo House started without checking with Cuddy first leaves McGowan weak and unable to pitch for three months.

7. Since he hasn’t thrown for so long, McGowan’s hands have become soft and delicate.  He develops chronic blisters that force him to miss starts.

8. McGowan takes a comeback off his right arm.  Doctors order x-rays.  The x-ray machine falls on Dustin McGowan, breaking his leg.  Doctors order a new x-ray of that too.

9. After shutting out the Yankees for seven innings, McGowan trips on the dugout steps and falls into Jose Bautista.  Both end up with severe concussions.

10. Enthusiastic victory sex after the Blue Jays clinch the second wild card spot turns horribly wrong, as McGowan tears his frenulum.

11. Travis Snider finally breaks through that wall and becomes the star we all expected. Unfortunately, McGowan was standing on the other side of said wall and is buried in the rubble.

12. Dustin goes blind, staring for too long at the shining star that is Brett Lawrie.

13. Nine months after signing the new deal, McGowan gives birth to a beautiful, healthy, 7 lb. 12 oz, baby girl.  Goes on maternity leave and reevaluates his life.  Decides he wants to stay home with the baby and just be a mom for a while.

14. After pitching a full 35 start, 200 inning workload in 2012, Dustin McGowan’s shoulder actually explodes.  Delicious candy comes pouring out of the empty cavity, as small children whoop with glee and dive to the ground to collect handfuls.

15. Dustin McGowan pitches for the next four years without incident, winning 50 games and being worth 15 wins above replacement.  The Blue Jays win back-to-back World Championships.  British Columbia defects to the United States.  The people of Israel and Palestine come together over a mutual hatred of the Dutch.  Jose Canseco comes back to the A’s and plays another 3 years.  Derek Jeter is revealed as the Anti-Christ and takes control of the UN.  Rivers run red with blood and frogs rain from the sky.  The lion lays down with the lamb.  Red Sox fans become tolerable.  And in this time of turmoil, we can only count on one man: Mariano Rivera.

Comments (32)

  1. Let me re-post this comment from the previous article. It probably belongs here.
    This site does an excellent job in evaluating performance “by the numbers.” It is nowhere near as good when actions taken have nothing to do with numbers. Such is the case with the McGowan signing. With that signing AA and Beest sent a clear message to the agents of MLB players. “If you are a Blue Jay, you are family: you WILL be treated right; you WILL be taken care of.” For a club that has trouble signing free agents (in a foreign country/artificial turf/going through customs etc.) the value of that kind of a public relations move cannot be quantified. From the Jays point of view, if McGowan actually pitches, that is a BONUS. They’ve already accomplished what they set out to do. Could not make that move in a salary cap world, but there is no salary cap in baseball. This was not about buying a pitcher. It was about buying goodwill.

  2. Best post in a long time.

  3. That was a fucking hoot!

  4. Awesome! Take that McGowan supporters!

  5. “Red Sox fans become tolerable”

    What? You lost me…

  6. Cuddy isn’t on House anymore, JEEZ!

    • Well, the other option is acknowledging the horrible writing decision of having Eric ‘My reputation is so bad I can’t even get a job at another hospital and by the way how the hell do I have the same name that already belongs to the lead character of another hit show on the same network??’ Foreman, become the hospital administrator.

      So he made the right creative call, unlike the lazy writers of House who left Chi McBride out there, just hanging.

  7. I can see all of number 15 happening – except for the Red Sox fans becoming tolerable…ain’t gonna happen any time soon.

    Excellent enjoyable post

  8. Lost it at “contracting lupus”

  9. “British Columbia defects to the United States.”

    Whoa whoa whoa. My maple boner does NOT approve.

    • i’m assuming they joined the US for a day before going to make their own country with Washington and Oregon. but yeah, they need to leave all their baseball players here!

  10. Jeter IS the Anti-Christ. That is just fact.

  11. here’s hoping for number 14… I love me some candy!!

  12. How about this? After watching McGowan rehab and pitch the coaches and GM decided that he had enough upside and potential to be worth a fairly minor financial commitment. It wasn’t that long ago that bloggers had their collective panties in a knot as they questioned the logic behind AA extending Bautista.

    Will Dustin get injured again? Possibly. But the doctors and coaches with actual information appear to be comfortable with the situation. Which is enough for me.

  13. Come on, maybe him sucking is more likely to happen then him being good, but that’s only part of the equation….you also need to figure out what you get if you win, and what you lose if you lose. That’s called weighing risk/reward.

    Even if he’s 80% likely to bust, and 20% likely to be really good, it’s still a great deal because if he busts, you lose almost nothing, but if that 20% long shot comes in, you’ve saved you’re club many millions. Not to mention you could flip him for valuable packages. Not to mention the players gratitude and loyalty towards the orginization. Not just from Dustin, but from the other Jay players, who understand the FO will support them if they need it.

    Even if he never plays a game, the goodwill aone you get from all the Jays players is probably worth $3 million.

    • This makes sense on its own, but the issue is that I don’t even think they should be guaranteeing him a roster spot for May, let alone 2014. I doubt that after inking this deal they’ll be comfortable just cutting him six weeks into the season if he shows that he’s not major-league ready, and then we have an issue.

  14. the problem with rewarding good will is it encourages mediocrity.

  15. I wanna file this one under a big ‘who really gives a shit’. Like c’mon guys. It’s 3 mil over two years. Godfrey used to spend more than that in one season paying off hostesses to keep quiet.

  16. Love the humor here


  17. Dustin has been regretting that cameo in the “Final Destination” movie for almost 4 years now.

  18. Did Parkes approve this post? Something as serious as this contract signing is nothing to be joked about.

  19. Although they’re tongue-in-cheek, Let’s take your 15 outcomes seriously. In 14/15 cases, McGowan essentially never pitches again, and the Blue Jays lose their $3M. But in 1/15 cases, McGowan pitches well, at the level of 15 WAR. Given that 1 WAR is worth $5M, this one possibility is worth $75M to the Blue Jays, which is much larger than 15 times $3M. IOW, what you have shown is that the Blue Jays have actually made an excellent gamble with McGowan.

    And this is the real point. Yes, the odds are that McGowan will get injured again and not pitch. But the question is: if he does pitch, will he pitch well enough to make the contract worthwhile? To take more realistic numbers: suppose that the odds are 80% that he never pitches again. In the remaining 20% possibility, he only has to pitch at the level of 3 WAR over the life of the contract to make it worthwhile. IMO, this is an excellent bet.

  20. Does the contract improve the likelihood of McGowan clearing waivers?

  21. If you sell your soul to Jeter the Satan, do you get a gift basket?

    Awesome post, Common Man. All of my co-workers now think I’m crazy because of the couple of times I burst out laughing.

  22. I think this deals does a lot of things. The first and most important being that, if claimed on waivers, I’m hope that 4 million option becomes guaranteed. This would enable AA to move him up and down for the next 1.5 years without worry. They know the pitcher and risk involved. Other clubs don’t have the same knowledge and therefore would have to take a much larger risk to claim him. This combined with the goodwill/ loyalty/ 20% huge upside (generally understood figure) makes this a great deal. Now that signing bonuses are controlled, its these types of deals that will make the difference in depth. They add it without the large monetary cost, and long wait time for the unproven. Dustin fits this mold beautifully. Great deal all around!

  23. So Dustin is rewarded for all of his diligence while rehabbing and recovering. Do you think
    he made plenty of cash the last 4 years? 4 years of his prime spent fighting through
    pain with one goal in mind. He is a symbol of determination and is loved as such. What a
    classy move by an organization headed in the proper direction. If it’s a going away present,
    most fans in Toronto would say it’s much deserved.
    It’s just not that difficult to understand…

  24. But seriously, McGowan goes to the bullpen fairly quickly and gives us four seasons of 3.50 ERA long relief across 150 innings, interspersed by about 7 DL stints.

    Which makes him worth his contract.

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