Dustin McGowan, who’s thrown just 21 innings since 2009, gets extension from Blue Jays

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Dustin McGowan is still trying to come back from a series of arm injuries to reestablish himself as a viable big-league pitcher and has thrown just 21 innings with a 6.43 ERA since 2009, yet today the Blue Jays signed the 30-year-old right-hander to a two-year contract extension worth at least $3 million.

John Lott of the National Post reports that McGowan will get $1.5 million in both 2013 and 2014, plus a $4 million option for 2015.

Obviously the Blue Jays are feeling confident about how McGowan’s shoulder has responded this spring and worried about losing him for nothing as a free agent after the season, wiping away years of sticking with him through all the injuries, but guaranteeing him millions at this point is definitely odd.

Before the arm problems derailed his career McGowan was a hard-throwing mid-rotation starter with No. 2 starter upside, but he didn’t pitch in the majors at all in 2009 or 2010 and appeared in just five games last season. The odds were seemingly against McGowan making an impact this season, let alone in 2013 and 2014, so this is definitely the Blue Jays going out on a relatively expensive and confusing limb.

Max Fried loses to Braves in salary arbitration

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Pitcher Max Fried lost to the Atlanta Braves in salary arbitration and will make $13.5 million in the upcoming season instead of his $15 million request.

Mark Burstein, Fredric Horowitz and Jeanne Vonhof issued their decision a day after hearing arguments.

Fried won a $6.85 million salary last year in arbitration instead of the team’s $6.6 million proposal.

He followed former Atlanta teammate Dansby Swanson in going to a hearing in consecutive years. Swanson, a shortstop, lost in 2021 and won last year, then signed a seven-year, $177 million contract with the Chicago Cubs.

The last player to win hearings in consecutive years was pitcher Trevor Bauer against Cleveland in 2018 and 2019.

Fried, a 29-year-old left-hander, went 14-7 for the second straight season and lowered his ERA to 2.48 from 3.04 in 2021. Fried was a first-time All-Star last season, was second to Miami’s Sandy Alcantara in Cy Young Award voting and was third in the National League in ERA behind Alcantara and Julio Urias with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 2021, Fried pitched six shutout innings in World Series Game 6 as the Braves won their first title since 1995.