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Thursday December 2, 2010 11:42 pm

Blue Jays ink deal with injured Dustin McGowan




Posted by Adrien Griffin Categories: Athletes, MLB,

Dustin McGowanThe Toronto Blue Jays have re-signed starter Dustin McGowan on a one-year deal worth $450,000. Normally this kind of deal isn’t worth noting, but it’s different here because injuries have prevented McGowan from throwing a full season, and he hasn’t pitched in a major league game since July 8, 2008. He’s made several attempts at a comeback but continually has found setbacks as his body fails to fully recover, leaving McGowan and the Blue Jays to wonder if he’ll ever pitch again.

From 2005-2008, McGowan has a 20-22 record with a 4.71 ERA. He has 285 strikeouts to 141 walks in 352.2 innings and a 1.374 WHIP. As a young pitcher, many thought McGowan had stuff that could top a major league rotation, but his injuries prevented him from ever realizing his potential for any significant length of time. At just 28 years of age, McGowan still has time to recover from his latest setbacks, which saw him miss the entire 2010 after repeatedly being “almost ready.”

The Blue Jays found themselves in a similar situation in 2002 when team ace Chris Carpenter had an injury-riddled season that ended with a shoulder surgery that many thought would end Carpenter’s career. There was not a good history of comebacks from the types of injury Carpenter had. The Blue Jays offered a minor league deal as a sign of good faith, but Carpenter declined and took his torn labrum to St. Louis with a major league contract, and we all know how his career has played out since.

Was it the right move let Carpenter go in 2002? Probably, which in hindsight makes it the wrong one. The Blue Jays seem to have learned from their mistake by offering McGowan a contract. What’s upsetting is that there’s no guarantee McGowan will ever pitch competitively again, and he’s making six figures to sit on a bench during games. Sure, the money barely registers on the payroll, and the potential upside of a recovery can bolster an already formidable rotation, but McGowan has a lot of work to do. This may be the last we ever hear of him, except for a forced early retirement.

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