The McGowan Scenario and others…


Dustin McGowan recently threw his 6th bullpen session without feeling any pain in his shoulder. Assuming that Dustin can be healthy when the season start, the Jays will have some really tough decisions to make. As it stands today, we can almost guarantee that Ricky Romero, Shaun Marcum, and Brandon Morrow will be in the rotation. That leaves Dana Eveland, Brett Cecil, Marc Rzpeczynski, Brian Tallet, Zach Stewart, and Zach Jackson competing for 2 spots. Competition and depth are always recommended when it comes to pitching, but when we add Dustin to that list we end up with 7 candidates for those 2 spots. Some of these players have options, others don’t. Dustin, for example, doesn’t have any, which means he’d have to clear waivers in order to be sent down to the minors – an unlikely event. Even if he is healthy, he’s unlikely to last the season due to his not pitching since 2008 – severely limiting the number of innings he can pitch. So that leaves the one obvious option that’s on everyone’s mind – the bullpen.

But, if Dustin McGowan takes his imposing performances to the pen, whose place does he take? The Jays badly need to create some room for him if they plan to use him there, because the list of pen candidates is already impressive to say the least. It’s been a tradition that the Jays carry 7 pitchers in their pen, here are the candidates who are almost guaranteed a spot in the pen:

Kevin Gregg, Jason Frasor, Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, Shawn Camp – none of these have options remaining.

That leaves 2 pen spots available. If we go by the logic that Dustin would take one of those 2 spots, it leaves 1 for Zechry Zinicola who would otherwise have to be returned to the Nationals should he not make the roster. Here’s a list of guys that would leave out:

Jeremy Accardo, Jesse Carlson, Merkin Valdez, Josh Roenicke, Sean Henn.

The first 2 are particularly worrisome because they would probably not take a return to AAA very well. The others do have options and can be sent to AAA to sharpen their skills.

This all leads to 2 obvious questions – 1) does McGowan feel comfortable / happy with a role in the bullpen? and 2) Who is Alex Anthopolous going to deal and where?

I can’t answer either right now because there are just too many options and it’s unlikely Dustin would take my call. However, I do know things happen in spring training that usually clears up such a muddy picture. I hope that they all stay healthy and that Alex can get a good return on whichever one(s) he deals before the season starts. Dustin McGowan‘s health makes it more likely that deals will occur and I certainly can envision his dominant stature as a Jays closer, should he ever get that opportunity.