Dustin McGowan: Is Chris Carpenter to blame?


After reading Dustin McGowan’s Year in Review (read it here)by Keegan Matheson, it got me thinking. Would the Toronto Blue Jays have handled Dustin McGowan differently had Chris Carpenter not found success with the St.Louis Cardinals?

I was giddy to see Dustin McGowan break camp as a member of the 2014 starting rotation. After so many years, I thought that this year was going to be the year that McGowan would finally reach his  vast potential. I optimistically  thought that  he would prove to be the missing piece of the puzzle and he would solidify a rotation, that at the time looked very questionable. None of that came to fruition, as he was soon relegated to the bullpen and ending all hope of him becoming the Ace of the staff.

At the end of 2007, it looked as though the Blue Jays had an Ace in waiting in Dustin McGowan, what with  18 quality starts out of a possible 27 and a 12-10, 4.08ERA. The future looked bright. Just like it did for Chris Carpenter after the 2001 season, who rebounded nicely from a very disappointing 2000, to go 11-11, 4.09ERA and pitch over 200+ innings for the first time in his career.

But in 2002, Chris Carpenter suffered a season ending should injury and everybody’s favorite Blue Jays General Manager J.P. Ricciardi didn’t re-sign the injured free-agent. To J.P.’s defense, this was a time when he was tasked to cut payroll, not spend it on guys that wouldn’t pitch again until 2004.

Dustin McGowan was still a year away from making his major league debut when Carpenter eventually made his way back to the major leagues with the St.Louis Cardinals. By the time 2007 rolled around, Carpenter had won a Cy Young award, narrowly missed a second one, and made two All-Star games. Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, the Blue Jays would re-sign McGowan again and again, despite his injury history.

Had Carpenter just faded into the a distant memory of unfulfilled potential by yet another Blue Jay prospect, would the Jays management have shown Dustin McGowan the same patience?

With a decision needing to made this off-season about Dustin McGowan’s future as a Toronto Blue Jay, I ask you….

Did the Blue Jays handle the Dustin McGowan situation correctly?

In an era when lineups turn over on a yearly basis and free-agents are more likely to sign for money rather than sign for rings, the Blue Jays management stuck by the oft-injured Dustin McGowan.  So despite what management decides to do with his option for 2015, they should learn one lesson…..not every injured arm is Chris Carpenter and not everything is worth waiting for.

Have your say in the poll and the comment section below.