Posted by: Asher Roth | January 5, 2010

The Trail is looking a bit less Dusty…

Add mutton chops to the list of names that hope to crack the Jays starting rotation this spring. That’s right, after months of either negative speculation, news of set-backs, and a whole lot of questions, it looks like Dustin McGowan is ready to return, not only to the Jays roster, but to their rotation.

According to the Coastal Courier, McGowan has fully recovered from both his shoulder and knee injuries, and he claims his fitness level is about 85% of what he would like it to be. Says McGowan, “I’m shooting for the first of the year. I plan on (doing so well at spring training), making it hard for them not to put me on the mound.”

Not bad, for a rotation that is badly in need of some assistance. But this isn’t just blind assistance, this is the man who is 2-3 years removed from being the ace of the future. This guy was 12-10 with a 4.08 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 2007. He boasted a mid-to-high 90s fastball and a some effective breaking pitches. If he can return to that form, and somehow  keep himself out of the hospital bed, this could help the Jays immensely.

So now, the rotation isn’t looking as brutal as we all thought. Add McGowan (who, of course, is no sure thing at this point) to the mix of Ricky Romero, the newly acquired Brandon Morrow, Shaun Marcum (in the same situation as Dusty), David Purcey, Casey Janssen, youngsters Marc Rzepczynski, Brett Cecil, Robert Ray and Brad Mills, and the prospect of a returning Jesse Litsch mid-season, and you’re looking at a solid, though primarily unproven, pool of pitching talent.

Cito will have many decisions to make this spring, but its up to these guys to prove they can perform when it matters most. Now we can find out if former pitching coach Brad Arnsberg is the reason for the revolving door of pitching injuries over the past few years. If the injuries keep coming, we’ll know it was a mistake to let him walk…

In the meantime, what do you, the readers, think? Which names would you like to see in the Jays rotation this year?

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Responses

  1. I still don’t believe McGowan will be ready for opening day. Why should I?

    Marcum
    Romero
    Morrow
    R-Zep
    Cecil

    Let McGowan start in AAA if he’s healthy. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in a long while. I don’t think Janssen is a contender for a spot in the rotation, not after the way he pitched, and Robert Ray still needs seasoning in the minors. And unless Purcey really impresses in spring training, I don’t really see him on the radar either. Richmond should be the long man, but there are no guarantees. If he outperforms Cecil or R-Zep in spring training, I wouldn’t have any qualms with either of those southpaws starting on the farm. They’re both still very young, and have more of a future with this franchise than Scott “I’m Canadian but I wear a Red Sox hat” Richmond.

    • I agree with your rotation prognostication. But if Richmond outpreforms Cecil and R-Zep in spring training, and they start in AAA, who fills in their rotation spot? I hope you’re not suggesting Richmond…

  2. With the rediculous amount of different starting pitchers we’ve had to run out the last couple years, I fully expect whoever the 7th starter is to get their shot, so I don’t think it matters where Dustin starts the season. I love Dustin and I am so pumped about this.

  3. I think that Rzepczynski and Cecil will be both fun to watch in 2010. But the calm and collectiveness of Romero gives me confidence in him and the jays. Also, Fraser was pretty clutch closing last year so I hope he doesn’t get traded.


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