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.