Dustin McGowan to make first start since July 8, 2008

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Dustin McGowan’s three-year journey back to the big leagues was completed Tuesday with a four-inning relief appearance and now the Blue Jays have decided to give him a start for the first time since July 8, 2008.

McGowan didn’t exactly dominate in his return outing, allowing eight baserunners and three runs in four innings against the Red Sox, but he’ll get the nod versus the Orioles on Sunday. That last start in mid-2008? Also against Baltimore.

Given his various setbacks and surgeries over the years it seems natural to see if McGowan can stay healthy in the bullpen, where plenty of former starters find new life as dominant late-inning options, but apparently the Blue Jays aren’t ready to write him off as a rotation option yet. John Farrell indicated that McGowan will be on a pitch count of 80 or so and he’s bumping Luis Perez from the rotation.

Brad Ausmus seems to know he’s a dead man walking

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The Tigers have been terrible and the embarked on a rebuild this summer, shipping off Justin Verlander and multiple other players. Miguel Cabrera is hurt and may never be his old MVP-level self. It is, without a doubt, that the Tigers and their fans are about to begin a new chapter in the franchise’s history.

Such new chapters usually involve new managers. Fourth-year manager Brad Ausmus is still at the helm and the Tigers have made no public statement about his future. Ausmus, however, is a lame duck, with his contract ending a week from Sunday. He is also no fool. He seems to know very well that he’s not going to be around next year. From Katie Strang of The Athletic:

Ausmus, of course, has been on the hot seat several times. When Detroit exercised his option for this year, their refusal to extend it sent a pretty clear signal.

If this is the end of the road in Detroit for Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager, it will end with him having missed the playoffs in three of his four seasons at the helm of a star-studded team that was expected to Win Now, as they say. Yes, there were a lot of issues with the Tigers — their bullpen has always been a problem and the brass made a lot of questionable choices in signings and trades over the past few years — but there is no escaping the fact that Ausmus’ Tigers under achieved.

Marco Estrada signs a one-year, $13 million deal for 2018

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Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays have agreed to a one-year, $13 million extension with the Blue Jays, reports Jon Morosi of MLB.com. Last night Morosi reported that the sides were near a deal.

This extension is, functionally, like adding a year on to his old deal, which paid him $26 million for the 2016-17 seasons. As Bill noted last night. while the 34-year-old right-hander has a subpar 4.84 ERA on the season, he has a solid 170/67 K/BB ratio in 176.2 innings this year and has improved in the second half.