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  1. Cue the onslaught of Jays fanboys who insist McGowan is a “front-end” starter. Fortunately, the few rational Jays fans (myself included) see this move for what it is.

    Comment by Nick — March 27, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  2. Aside from the Napoli trade (which, to be fair, is only bad when you look at it in hindsight), this has to be AA’s most questionable move.

    Comment by VJO — March 27, 2012 @ 9:09 am

  3. Like me?

    Comment by Mike Wilner — March 27, 2012 @ 9:12 am

  4. Isn’t McGowan out of options despite the contract? Pretty sure the Jays have to 40-man roster him or pass him through waivers…

    Comment by BombasticDave — March 27, 2012 @ 9:17 am

  5. If a two year contract totaling only $3M is AA’s most questionable move, then he must be one hell of a GM.

    Comment by rdillon99 — March 27, 2012 @ 9:20 am

  6. This appears to be true. With the extension, though, maybe the Blue Jays can pass him through waivers. He has potential, but teams may not want to take on the risk. Still, that makes his spring a lot more important. I can’t see him holding up as a reliever. Thanks for pointing this out.

    Comment by Chris Cwik — March 27, 2012 @ 9:21 am

  7. Yes, McGowan is out of options. He will be on this year’s 25-man roster.

    Comment by rdillon99 — March 27, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  8. It’s also possible there are still come in the organization stinging from the Chris Carpenter days. Jays let him go for nothing and he turned into a pretty good front end guy.

    Comment by Geoff — March 27, 2012 @ 9:26 am

  9. Any team that takes him would have to do so sight unseen, which would be quite a gamble for all the reasons laid out in the article. Perhaps this contract was motivated by a desire to keep him but also start him off in the minors? I still think it’s stupid.

    Comment by TK — March 27, 2012 @ 9:28 am

  10. Really think articles and comments like this are a clear case of people trying to be smarter than they need to be and out thinking the contract.

    At the end of the day, what is $3M to the Blue Jays? They paid $6M to make the Halladay deal happen, they paid at least $5M to get rid of Wells, they paid $5M for Teahen in order to acquire Rasmus, and they paid BJ Ryan $10M to stay home.

    Complaining about $3M (over two years!) That at its worst is a nice goodwill gesture to a guy who’s busted his ass to try and get back and at it’s best could be very good value (I’m not a guy who think McGowan is a ‘front end’ pitcher, either)? Seems like being upset for the sake of being upset to me.

    Comment by allisauce — March 27, 2012 @ 9:37 am

  11. He is really, at this point Rogers owes him about 300 million to play with after the Wells, Bautista, Lawrie, Santos, Morrow and Escobar moves. I am not a Jays fan but I am blown away by the moves he is able to make.
    Maybe they see DMac moving to the pen where he would likely excede the value of this contract.

    Comment by Psst — March 27, 2012 @ 9:39 am

  12. True. Only “front-end” starters are worth 3 M over two seasons.

    Comment by jessef — March 27, 2012 @ 9:41 am

  13. Love this response. Can McGowan produce 0.8 WAR over the next 3 seasons? I’d say absolutely.

    Comment by Mike Newman — March 27, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  14. Much ado about nothing, the Jays ownership has deep pockets and with the new rules capping total draft money spent, not a big risk here.

    Comment by AL Eastbound — March 27, 2012 @ 9:43 am

  15. $1.5M per year is nothing in the grand scheme of things, and it seems like a good gamble for a potential 3+WAR player for $1.5M. It also shows good faith. They could rid themselves of that contract if McGowan needs to be moved out of the rotation for some of the young guys, but he still isn’t a positive WAR guy. Pointing out that his FB MPH is (ghasp!) 1.1 MPH slower than before? Come on….now who’s nitpicking?? That’s excellent historically for this type of injury.

    Comment by DC Nats — March 27, 2012 @ 9:45 am

  16. How many good starts or reasonable relief appearances does one have to make over the course of 3 years to accumulate 0.8WAR? Like, three good starts? Four maybe? Whether McGowan is good or not, if you’re around for that amount of time, then you’re worth it, or you’re some overpriced Cubs or Giants starter that gets paid a baffling amount of money for whatever reason.

    The chance of failure might be high, but if the result is bad, it’s so tiny of a loss it doesn’t matter. Meanwhile, getting even one half ass season makes it worth it.

    Comment by SC2GG — March 27, 2012 @ 10:28 am

  17. However you slice it for the team, this contract is huge for McGowan and his family, basically providing a lifetime of financial security after his long (and unremunerative) road back.

    Comment by greenfrog — March 27, 2012 @ 10:39 am

  18. But about the spot on the roster that could go to somebody younger and healthier.

    Comment by It's not about the money — March 27, 2012 @ 10:41 am

  19. McGowan will likely never regain the impressive form he once flashed before the shoulder surgeries. But even a shell of his former self McGowan could be useful for the Jays.

    Whether in the rotation as the 5th or 6th guy or as a long man in the bullpen, McGowan should live up to the deal.

    Comment by GonzoFlyBall — March 27, 2012 @ 10:43 am

  20. not mention that gaining 2-4 MPH by going to the pen is pretty common. If the guy can stay healthy he has Soria upside in the pen as when he is on he has 4 plus pitches.

    Comment by Psst — March 27, 2012 @ 10:50 am

  21. @Psst

    I recall the Jays saying that he won’t pitch out of the pen. The strain of pitching three times a week was worrisome to them. Someone at DrunkJaysFan made a nice comment about franchise ‘intangibles’ becoming more important now that there’s a cap on the draft. While that might be looking too far down the rabbit hole, whatever the motivation for this contract it can’t hurt the franchise one bit moving forward even if he doesn’t pitch ever again:

    One good column and one good interview spins AliSauce’s worst case scenario into a PR experts wet dream.

    Comment by graemecharles — March 27, 2012 @ 10:53 am

  22. MInor quibble…he was alrady under contract for 2012, so that shouldn’t be part of the consideration of the extension. But roughly that kind of production in 2013-14…not a high bar to clear at all

    Comment by Anon — March 27, 2012 @ 10:54 am

  23. How is this a “puzzling” signing? Can you say Chris Carpenter?

    Minimal investment, low risk, high reward.

    Comment by Andrew — March 27, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  24. And when you’re paying the guy 3.5 million over 3 years, it’s not exactly the end of the world if you have to cut him.
    There’s no risk here.

    Comment by Gort — March 27, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  25. Exactly. If he produces 0.8 WAR over the 1st half season and then his arm explodes, it’s still not a terrible deal for the Jays…

    This is decent risk management I think. Plus McGowan gets a ~$4m prize for his crazy comeback.

    Comment by Someanalyst — March 27, 2012 @ 12:00 pm

  26. Disagree that the Napoli trade is only bad in hindsight. Sure, it looks worse than it would have after Napoli put up career-best numbers, but it was a questionable move when it happened.

    Still, though, that’s the only black mark on AA’s dossier at the moment.

    Comment by TheRuckus — March 27, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

  27. Good point bringing up Carpenter. $3m to avoid another Carpenter will appeal to lots of Jays fans.

    Comment by Someanalyst — March 27, 2012 @ 12:02 pm

  28. I think even with just his fastball, curve and his changeup McGowan can be a very good starter. I think everyone hopes he stops throwing his slider for the sake of his shoulder and concentrates on his other pitches as his fastball had quite a bit of movement already.

    McGowan also looked terrible out of the pen last year, he seems like a guy who can’t amp it up over short periods without falling into his old habit of overthrowing and just trying to beat guys with his pure gas.

    Dustin tried throwing a sinker last year so hopefully it was a sign of him trying to evolve his repetoire, though he did throw his slider waaaay to much for a guy with his injury history and hopefully he’ll learn that throwing a slider is no way to stay healthy.

    Comment by Brando — March 27, 2012 @ 12:09 pm

  29. I don’t think many people think that at all. His slider is his strikeout pitch. If he’s not healthy enough to throw that, then he’s not healthy enough to be getting a 2 year contract extension.

    Comment by Josh — March 27, 2012 @ 12:19 pm

  30. To be honest, the minor foot injury may actually be a blessing for him and the Jays. It’s one of those things with no set deadline for return, they can throw him on the DL to give him extra time to get ready at season start then bring him back when needed (or is that being cynical of me). Saves them from worrying about going through waivers with him.

    As for the deal, meh, pretty much no cost, decent upside if things break right, at worst the Jays have to soak up the contract when they drop him.

    Comment by TtD — March 27, 2012 @ 12:26 pm

  31. This contract is the reason people grumble about the financial structure of baseball. The Jays want to keep him, and he is out of options. So they sign him to this contract because #1 They think it is an acceptable risk, and the dollars don’t mean much to them; and #2 Now the Pirates, Astros, and A’s wont pick him up if the Jays want to send him to the minors (because they would be on the hook for $4 million they don’t have). It’s kind of like the clause the Red Sox put in the Andrew Miller contract last year when they wanted to send him to the minors but didn’t wan to lose him. At least half the teams in baseball wouldn’t go near $4 million guaranteed for a guy with McGowan’s injury history. But if there were no strings attached there are a bunch of non-contenders who would give him a roster spot.

    Comment by Dan — March 27, 2012 @ 12:42 pm

  32. You forgot to mention that Harden earned 15 million over the last 3 years and actually pitched OK last year despite his ERA. 3.5 million for 2 years and an option to make it 7 million for 3 seems reasonable. It’s not a total waste of money as it has potential upside. Also this may pave the way for a move to the pen as he/team may have been wary to test him out there, but now that he has financial security they may be more willing. Also they’ve actually seen him pitching for the last 4 months which most of us have not or very little exposure.

    Comment by Mike D — March 27, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

  33. Completely agree. The Napoli trade was horrible from the get go. If you looked at splits Napoli would have been the perfect platoon mate for Adam Lind (hindsight reveals he would have been the everyday 1B). He also would have been able to form a decent platoon with a young Arencebia.

    Comment by Beaster — March 27, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

  34. No Mike, you are the ultimate fanboy. Brett Cecil has Cole Hamels like stuff?

    Comment by Lee — March 27, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  35. There’s a high likelihood of him being a bust, but the cost is low compared to the potential upside, and the break even point is very low. It’s really not much different from a typical prospect in that sense – more imediate impact, fewer years of control, but it’s similar in that it’s a lottery ticket where you don’t expect it to pay off but the potential surplus value offsets the risk. Without access to the team’s information on his medical records, we don’t necessarily have the ability to properly compare the risk, but I wouldn’t be surprised his his likelihood of at least breaking even is significantly better than the majority of even first-round draft picks.

    Comment by WilsonC — March 27, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  36. $3 Million over 2 years in today’s MLB could never be considered “risky”. Especially since he has had a good spring (stuff and consistency wise). Even if he only pitched 100 innings over the next 2 years, he would be worth $3 Million.

    Mcgowan could easily be a 2 WAR starter in each of the next 2 seasons if he pitches 150 innings per year. Hell, if all breaks right, he could be a 3 WAR starter in each season; that seems well worth the measly gamble of $3 Million.

    Comment by Matty Brown — March 27, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

  37. When you can throw your slider at 88-91 mph, throw it until your arm falls off I say.

    Comment by Bryan — March 27, 2012 @ 10:34 pm

  38. They wanted an experienced and skilled catcher to back up Aaron Cibia, somebody who could help him and help the pitching staff. Molina was that guy, and Napoli wasn’t.

    They had Encarnacion as a potential platoon mate for Lind if they’d wanted to go that way. They may well this year.

    Would they have won more games with Napoli, assuming he had just as good a season in Toronto? No doubt. But he wasn’t a fit, and they needed a closer. Turned out the closer couldn’t get it together till the 2nd half.

    Yeah, a really terrible move in a season where you have a rookie manager, a rookie catcher (and more young catchers on the way), a rookie pitcher, and little hope of contention. In hindsight one can see how replacing Lind with Napoli might’ve been a good move if Napoli has a similar season in Toronto. But at the time it was completely understandable why Napoli was traded.

    Comment by Mick in Ithaca — March 27, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

  39. I’m thinking the Cordero signing this offseason will be in the running for most questionable move soon. The only pitcher that got luckier than Cordero last year was probably Valverde.

    Comment by Moonraker — March 27, 2012 @ 11:51 pm

  40. I don’t understand the comments saying there’s “no risk” to this deal. AA acknowledged the team is taking on a fair bit of risk. Obviously, 3M is a drop in the bucket for Rogers but the timing of this deal makes no sense. Plus, some of the young guys (McGuire, Hutchison, Drabek) could be better options for the rotation by late 2012/early ’13.

    Comment by Sam in T.O — March 29, 2012 @ 1:20 am

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