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Dustin McGowan, who’s thrown just 21 innings since 2009, gets extension from Blue Jays

Mar 26, 2012, 4:46 PM EDT

Dustin McGowan Reuters

Dustin McGowan is still trying to come back from a series of arm injuries to reestablish himself as a viable big-league pitcher and has thrown just 21 innings with a 6.43 ERA since 2009, yet today the Blue Jays signed the 30-year-old right-hander to a two-year contract extension worth at least $3 million.

John Lott of the National Post reports that McGowan will get $1.5 million in both 2013 and 2014, plus a $4 million option for 2015.

Obviously the Blue Jays are feeling confident about how McGowan’s shoulder has responded this spring and worried about losing him for nothing as a free agent after the season, wiping away years of sticking with him through all the injuries, but guaranteeing him millions at this point is definitely odd.

Before the arm problems derailed his career McGowan was a hard-throwing mid-rotation starter with No. 2 starter upside, but he didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2009 or 2010 and appeared in just five games last season. The odds were seemingly against McGowan making an impact this season, let alone in 2013 and 2014, so this is definitely the Blue Jays going out on a relatively expensive and confusing limb.

  1. cur68 - Mar 26, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    Took him in Fantasy League based on the exact same 21 inning sample. He’s got velocity, a re-worked delivery, and has even more time and practice away from surgery. He’s been pretty sharp this spring, too. This signing makes me feel good about my chance taking with him. Anthopolous and that crew of sharpies he runs the Jay’s FO with aren’t dense. If they think this kid can bounce back to the tune of 3 mil/3years, then likely what we have here is a bargain at the price. This is NOT Riccardi throwing zillions at Wells, by any means (and thank dog for that).

  2. Adam Seidel - Mar 26, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    @cur, it makes even more sense when you consider what the Jays are dealing with in their division. With the Yankees and the Red Sox to be perennially squashed by – not to mention the superbly run Rays – the Blue Jays have little choice but to pursue a high-variance strategy and take some risks in hopes they can squeeze unusual value. Health is much better judged by good staff, coaches, and doctors than by anybody merely looking at a stat sheet, and the Jays clearly have reason to see some upside here.

  3. missthemexpos - Mar 26, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Bottom line, this is NOT Riccardi throwing zillions at Rios or B. J. Ryan (thought you let the former G.M. off easy C68, only mentioning the Wells contract), and the history lesson of giving up too soon on Chris Carpenter no doubt played a part.

    • cur68 - Mar 26, 2012 at 7:53 PM

      Don’t get me started on the those other contracts. My blood pressure goes to DEFCON 2 on the Wells deal alone. It’s fire all ICBM’s if I get to JPR’s other contractual work. That aint pretty.

  4. marquesknows - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM

    Love the deal.

    This kid has got character. He is an inspiration to the clubhouse.

    He will be a fantastic Jay .

    Unlike with Chris Carpenter we need to be patient. This kid will be a horse for the Jays eventually.

    Better days are ahead for this kid. His hard work will pay off.

  5. dirtyharry1971 - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    and after the three years is up this guy will have pitched in 30 innings since 2009

    • cur68 - Mar 26, 2012 at 10:52 PM

      Which is more than you’ve eve done.

  6. jaysfan64 - Mar 27, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    Shrewd move by AA – sends a message to the players…McG is highly regarded in the clubhouse…really, little risk on the Jays part…plus the Carpenter thing really
    embarrassed the whole organization – AA who had relatively little pull back then had lobbied to keep Carpenter in the first place…

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