This story tears at my heart strings... ever since the Jays drafter McGowan back in 2000 out of High School, I have been enamored with his ability. I can vividly recall scouring Ebay for bulk amounts of his Rookie Cards (I have a pretty nice collection!) and even sending him a baseball which he promptly signed and returned to me. (What a guy!)
I heard the comparisons as he made his way through the farm system... talk of his electric arm... he had the whole world in front of him to conquer.
A couple arm surgeries later, and suddenly McGowan finds himself at the crossroads. The Jays have begun a building agenda for this franchise that will give playing time to this plethora of young kids that abound our roster. (if Gaston will allow it...).
Where does good old Dusty fit in?
Good question. He's out of options and cannot be sent to the minors unless he clears waivers, which he surely wouldn't. The vultures would be on Dusty like John Daly on a Hooter's doorstep drunk!
Here's how I see it:
If McGowan starts on the DL, then it buys him some time to get comfortable and entrenched in a pitching program to rebuild his stamina. Some have suggested that we place him in the bullpen to start the season and let him work from there until he shows his command and velocity have returned, but I disagree with that idea. McGowan is, and always has been a starter, and unless we want to hamper his development, as evidenced by the career of Brandon Morrow in Seattle, I think we should leave him as he is. The pain-free bullpen session he threw last week MUST have been a HUGE relief to AA and the rest of the organization.
Sure, they're taking the optimistically cautious approach to his return, but in all honesty, AA has to be licking his chops at the prospect of getting McGowan back in the rotation. I get weak-kneed thinking about Marcum, Romero, McGowan, Cecil and either Zep or Purcey launching us into the next season. I'm nowhere NEAR as excited about Litsch as I am McGowan. For some reason I see such parallels between himself and Doc. Not so much literally, as Doc didn't have a few arm surgeries, but he DID come through the system with high expectations that took a few years to come to pass. Now I certainly cannot sit here and unequivocally say that Dusty will be Doc. However, I firmly believe that he does have the potential to have front end starter impact on this team going forward.
That said, all I, and we, as Jays fans, can do, is wish Dusty the best of luck with his return.
I know I'll be rooting him on.