Daily Dose: McGowan's career in danger?

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Dustin McGowan emerged as one of the AL’s most promising young pitchers
by winning 14 games with a 3.62 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 32 starts
from mid-2007 to mid-2008, but began struggling following a 125-pitch
outing last June and had season-ending shoulder surgery a month later.
His recovery has gone poorly and general manager J.P. Ricciardi hinted
Wednesday that his career is in jeopardy.

“He’s not where he should be from a rehab standpoint,” Ricciardi
noted. “I don’t know if he’s never going to throw again, but right now
he’s struggling.” Toronto’s pitching staff has been wrecked by all
kinds of injuries during the past two years, but losing a young
right-hander with a mid-90s fastball who missed plenty of bats and
induced quite a few ground balls is perhaps the biggest long-term blow.

While the Blue Jays somehow become the fifth MLB team to win 40 games, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Injuring his elbow in the World Baseball Classic didn’t stop Matt
Lindstrom from averaging the usual 96 miles per hour with his fastball,
but he hasn’t looked right since. Last season Lindstrom allowed 21 runs
and 26 walks in 57.1 innings. This year he gave up 22 runs and 20 walks
in just 29 innings before the Marlins stuck him on the disabled list
Wednesday with a sprained right elbow.

Florida worked Lindstrom awfully hard despite the WBC scare, using
him in both games of a doubleheader last month and on three straight
days twice in the past four weeks. Now he’s been shut down for at least
a month and most likely will be sidelined well into August. Leo Nunez
is the obvious choice to replace him in the ninth inning, assuming that
his current ankle injury doesn’t linger for very long.

* Edinson Volquez had been making steady progress in his recovery
from elbow tendinitis, but has been shut down after an MRI exam showed
inflammation. He’ll be examined again next week, but now seems highly
unlikely to return before the All-Star break. With his recovery
timetable being delayed the Reds now have an excuse to give Homer
Bailey an extended rotation tryout beginning Saturday.

Bailey was a mess in past stints with the Reds and his prospect
stock is nowhere near where it once was, but he’s still just 23 years
old and is 5-0 with a 0.81 ERA and 40/10 K/BB ratio in six starts since
his latest demotion to Triple-A. This is his third go-around at
Triple-A and he’s made 45 starts there, so it may be time to let him
sink or swim while praying that he throws strikes for once.

* There’s no official diagnosis yet on Brandon Webb’s injured shoulder
following two MRI exams and he’s expected to seek a second opinion
later this week, but the Arizona Republic
reported Wednesday that “surgery appears to be a strong possibility”
while specifically speculating that he may have a torn labrum. If
that’s indeed the case, Webb is done for 2009 and perhaps most of 2010.

Note: As the first half comes to a close, we’re now offering a “Midseason Report” that includes all the outstanding content from our “Season Pass” product plus a ton of new articles, rankings, and projections tailored for the second half.

AL Quick Hits: Evan Longoria left Wednesday’s game with a
strained hamstring and missed time earlier this month with the same
injury … CC Sabathia (biceps) declared himself “good to go” following a
bullpen session Wednesday … Neftali Feliz has moved to the bullpen at
Triple-A in preparation for a second-half role
in Texas … Oakland placed Josh Outman (elbow) on the shelf Thursday,
calling up Gio Gonzalez to replace him in the rotation … Denard Span
(ear) is set to come off the disabled list Thursday … Jason Varitek has
been slumping this month, so manager Terry Francona explained Wednesday
that he’s been dealing with neck stiffness … Koji Uehera said Wednesday
that he’s in danger of missing his next start because of elbow soreness
… David Ortiz homered again Wednesday and is 18-for-55 (.327) with six
homers this month … Orlando Hernandez began his comeback by tossing a
scoreless inning out of the bullpen Tuesday at Triple-A.

NL Quick Hits: Oliver Perez (knee) estimated Wednesday that he
needs a couple more minor-league rehab starts before rejoining the Mets
… Manny Parra tossed seven innings of one-run ball in his second
Triple-A outing Tuesday, striking out Manny Ramirez … Brad Lidge (knee)
will return from the disabled list Thursday, according to general
manager Ruben Amaro Jr. … Gary Sheffield was out of the lineup for a
third straight game Wednesday after getting a cortisone shot for his
injured knee … Seth McClung has been tabbed to replace Dave Bush
(biceps) in the rotation and may have some short-term value in NL-only
leagues … Kenshin Kawakami exited Wednesday’s start after taking a Joba
Chamberlain liner off the side of his neck … General manager Neal
Huntington said Wednesday that Ian Snell will remain in the rotation
for at least one more start … David Wright stole his 19th base
Wednesday while going 4-for-4 with three runs.

2016 Winter Meetings Preview

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD - FEBRUARY 26: The Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is seen along the Potomac River February 26, 2014 in National Harbor, Maryland.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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The baseball world will descend on Washington D.C. — well, the Maryland suburbs of Washington, at the Gaylord Resort at National Harbor — this weekend for the 2016 Winter Meetings. There’s a lot of work to be done.

Twenty free agents from a class of 191 have signed thus far. Among the notable: Yoenis Cespedes, Edinson Volquez, Neil Walker, Josh Reddick, Bartolo Colon, and R.A. Dickey. That, of course, leaves a ton of notables left, including Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Turner, Jose Bautista, Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, Mark Trumbo, Mark Melancon, Rich Hill and a host of others. Here is our rundown of this offseason’s top free agents if you’re curious. As you have come to expect from us, we’ll have a writeup of everyone who signs, faster than almost anyone else will.

Despite the sheer number of available free agents, this is an historically thin free agent class in terms of talent. That means that, for a team to improve significantly, they may be better served by making a trade. We’ve seen a couple already, most notably the deals which sent Taijuan Walker to the Diamondbacks, Jaime Garcia to the Braves and Brian McCann to the Astros. Most experts believe there will be plenty more this winter, and the ball could really get rolling on that in the next week with guys like Andrew McCutchen, Chris Sale, Chris Archer, Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Phillips on the block.

Another major activity of the Winter Meetings is the Hall of Fame Veterans Committee vote. Except, this year, there is no Veterans Committee, at least in name. It’s now the “Today’s Game” committee. Here are links to breakdowns of the candidacies of all ten men on the ballot the new committee will consider:

Harold Baines
Albert Belle
Will Clark
Orel Hershiser
Mark McGwire
George Steinbrenner
Davey Johnson
Lou Piniella
John Shuerholz
Bud Selig

Trade deals, free agent negotiations and Hall of Fame votes take place behind closed doors at the Gaylord Resort. One of the major public activities of the Winter Meetings is when all 30 of the managers meet and greet the press. This year’s new faces are Torey Lovullo with the Diamondbacks, Rick Renteria with the White Sox and Bud Black with the Rockies. Brian Snitker, now the permanent manager of the Braves, will get his first go-around at the managerial cattle call. I’ll be in the scrum for a lot of these guys — they do them two at a time so I can’t see everyone — and will let you know if they say anything fun.

Outside of the transactions and the Hall of Fame stuff, we have the more mundane Winter Meetings business. And a lot of it. Indeed, the vast majority of the people at the Meetings aren’t there for transactions. They’re there to network, seek jobs and discuss the business of baseball like any other industry convention. Ever year we hear about a rule change or a proposal for future rule changes at the Meetings, though this year’s brand new Collective Bargaining Agreement should overshadow that. We’ve already discussed the major points of that and, yesterday, I speculated that, as time goes on, the way this agreement was reached could lead to some serious strife going forward, particularly on the union side. Expect to hear some anonymous rumblings about all of that in the next few days, from players, agents and other interested parties who may not be all that pleased with how it goes.

The final event of the Winter Meetings is the Rule 5 Draft, which will take place at 8am on Thursday morning. You likely have no idea who most of the players who will be selected are, but here’s a good place to start your research on that. If your team takes someone in the draft, the most important thing to know is that he’ll either be on the big league roster all year or he’ll have to be returned to his original team. Well, they could be stashed on the disabled list with phantom injuries so they won’t have to be returned, but no team would ever do that, would they? Perish the thought.

So, yes, there’s a lot to be done. I’ll be on the scene at National Harbor, bringing you all the best hot stove business we have to offer and, as usual, some more fun odds and ends from baseball’s biggest offseason event. As they used to say in radio, tune in to us and rip off the dial. Or, at the very least, keep a tab open to us and refresh a lot.

The Padres non-tendered RHP Tyson Ross

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 04:  Tyson Ross #38 of the San Diego Padres walks off the field as he's taken out of the game in the sixth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on opening day at PETCO Park on April 4, 2016 in San Diego, California.  (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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Per a report by MLB.com’s AJ Cassavell, the Padres non-tendered right-handed starter Tyson Ross on Friday, cutting loose their top ace after three seasons with the club.

Ross, 29, was sidelined for the bulk of the season with inflammation in his right shoulder and underwent thoracic outlet surgery in October. His injuries limited him to only 5 1/3 innings in 2016, during which he gave up seven runs and struck out five in a 15-0 blowout against the Dodgers.

Prior to his lengthy stint on the disabled list, the right-hander earned 9.5 fWAR and pitched to a 3.07 ERA and 9.2 K/9 rate in three full seasons with the Padres. He avoided arbitration with a one-year, $9.625 million deal prior to the 2016 season after leading the league with 33 starts and delivering a 3.26 ERA and career-best 4.4 WARP over 196 innings in 2015.

The Padres appear open to bringing Ross back to San Diego, reported Cassavell, albeit not at such a steep cost. Cassavell quoted Padres’ GM A.J. Preller, who was reportedly in trade talks involving Ross but unable to strike a deal, likely due to the right-hander’s recent health issues. Preller denied that those same health issues factored into the club’s decision to non-tender their ace.

With the move, Ross became one of 35 major leaguers to enter free agency on Friday.