He’s back! The Blue Jays announced today that they had re-signed former first rounder Deck McGuire to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training.
McGuire, 28, was the Blue Jays underachieving first-round pick in the 2010 draft. Selected 11th overall in 2010, McGuire impressed when he started in 2011 with the dunedin Blue Jays but those excellent numbers (2.75 ERA, 1.21 WHIP over 104 2/3 innings with 38 walks and 102 strikeouts) went south when he arrived in Double-A New Hampshire in 2012 and then in 2013 although he showed some promise. In 2014, he pitched his way up to Triple-A Buffalo and was sold to the Oakland A’s for whom he struggled in Triple-A.
McGuire was released at the end of spring training in 2015 and was snapped up by the Dodgers for whom he pitched well in Double-A and Triple-A and he signed with St. Louis in 2016 and had mediocre numbers (5.10 ERA, 1.37 WHIP with 111 strikeouts and 50 walks in 134 innings) in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League).
A free agent again after the 2016 season, McGuire signed on with the Reds and found himself pitching for the season for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the Double-A Southern League in 2017. He had a stellar season as a starter, striking out 170 in 168 innings, putting up a 2.79 ERA and limiting hitters to a .637 OPS against. That gave him the shot he’d been waiting for seven years for: a big league call up. McGuire made his major league debut with the Reds on September 12 and threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings against the Cardinals. He followed that with three more scoreless outings out of the bullpen and then got his first major league start on September 26, taking the loss and giving up six runs (four earned) against the Milwaukee Brewers. He was given one more chance before the season ended, starting on October 1 against the Chicago Cubs and picking up his first big league win with five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits with two strikeouts.
McGuire comes back to Toronto with a pedigree of being an inconsistent pitcher with a big-league-average repertoire of pitches. His fastball averaged 92.7 mph last year and he also employed a slider, changeup and curveball, a similar repertoire to the one I saw him use in 2013.
McGuire becomes the first minor league free agent, and first free agent of any kind, whom the Blue Jays have signed in 2017/18 postseason. I’m sure the Jays like to have him in Buffalo to offer depth and it’ll be nice to see a familiar face in what promises to be an exciting Bisons pitching staff in 2018.
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