After missing all of last season with a foot injury followed by shoulder surgery Dustin McGowan was supposed to be healthy this spring, but because “healthy” and “Dustin McGowan” aren’t allowed to go together he’s already been shut down with more shoulder problems.
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons told reporters that McGowan’s “shoulder was barking” and he’ll take an indefinite break from throwing off a mound.
McGowan essentially hasn’t been healthy since mid-2008, as multiple injuries have ruined what was once a very promising career as a hard-throwing starter. Toronto raised a lot of eyebrows last spring by signing McGowan to a contract extension that guaranteed him $1.5 million in both 2013 and 2014, plus a $500,000 buyout for 2015. That deal is looking more and more like a charitable donation at this point.
The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.
Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.
In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.