Dustin McGowan, the oft injured starting pitcher who recently received a curious contract extension from the Toronto Blue Jays, despite making only five Major League appearances in the past three seasons, will not be breaking camp with the team. Even as his two year deal that guarantees him $3.5 million with a $4 million club option for 2015, was being announced, McGowan was listed as day-to-day with plantar fasciitis after having been carted off the field in his last Spring Training appearance.
After a throwing session was cut short yesterday due to pain, manager John Farrell danced around the term “shut down” while describing the situation:
We’ve backed him away from any additional throwing until that discomfort subsides or any symptoms that he does feel are completely out of there before we begin to put a ball back in his hand. At this point it’s probably unlikely he’ll be ready to go.
Our fond friend Andrew Stoeten over at DJF sees the bad news as a blessing in disguise. Another trip to the Disabled List means that McGowan’s guaranteed spot in the club’s rotation opens up, giving the Blue Jays the opportunity to take a better look at both Brett Cecil and Kyle Drabek, as they decide which of the two will round out the rotation for the majority of the year.
Personally, I see this latest step backwards as further evidence of the contract extension being a bad idea, or at the very least being unnecessary. I understand that’s not a particularly popular opinion among Blue Jays fans whose defence of Dusty Lambchops is admirable, but ultimately misplaced. The team, who has paid for and stood by McGowan through so much rehabilitation that the pitcher has actually spent more of his MLB service time on the Disabled List than dressed in uniform.
So, while McGowan’s will power to fight through his myriad of physical limitations without giving in to discouragement should be celebrated, it shouldn’t earn him more guaranteed money from the baseball club that could have cut bait a long time ago.
No one’s suggesting that the contract is crippling, or that it spells the doom of the franchise. It’s merely something that makes little sense based on the information we have and the evidence we’ve seen.
To those who disagree, I would ask why no one, not even the most homeristic of the team’s fan base, was suggesting that the Blue Jays should lock McGowan up to a multiple year deal. Of all the quality team blogs that follow the Blue Jays, of all the disgruntled (and gruntled) columnists who use the team as fodder, of all the fans drinking beer and talking about the team’s chances this off season, did anyone mention the need to keep Dustin McGowan in Toronto beyond this coming season, let alone for two more before 2012 had even started?
I simply can’t wrap my head around this deal, at least not in the fashion that the majority of the fan base seems to have.