Never give up on your dreams! After seven years of riding the bus in the minors between five different organizations, Deck McGuire is finally getting his shot.
The Cincinnati Reds, who signed the former first round pick of the Blue Jays in the 2010 draft to a minor league deal in February, have selected the contract of McGuire from Double-A Pensacola. He’ll join the team likely for the remainder of the season.
The Jays used the 11th overall pick in the 2010 draft to select McGuire, a standout at Georgia Tech. It was expected McGuire would make an impact on the Jays quickly, being a drafted college senior, but it never happened.
McGuire is infamous around these parts for being one of the bigger draft busts in recent memory. Of course, the Major League Draft is a crapshoot and busts are more prevalent than in any of the four major North American professional sports leagues, but McGuire’s selection left a sour taste in mouths of Jays fans because of who was selected right after him.
Chris Sale, a lefty with a weird delivery out of Florida Gulf Coast, was a bigger risk but had way more upside. The Jays passed on him for the safer bet in McGuire, but Sale, who was selected 12th, has gone on to become one of the best pitchers in baseball. But hey, the Jays got Aaron Sanchez, Noah Syndergaard, Danny Barnes, and Dalton Pompey out of that draft. They also got Kris Bryant, but he didn’t sign. And they drafted Sam Dyson, too! So you can’t complain that much!
McGuire had a solid start to his professional career in Dunedin, but struggled after being called up to Double-A. He repeated in 2012, posting a 5.88 ERA, then went back to New Hampshire for a third season in 2013. In his fourth go-around with the Fisher Cats in 2014, McGuire was good enough to get promoted to Triple-A Buffalo, where he was shelled for a 5.56 ERA over 10 starts.
The Jays cut their losses and traded the righty to the Oakland A’s for cash considerations in June 2014. McGuire didn’t last long with the A’s, as he was released prior to the 2015 season. He signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers in 2015 and the Cardinals in 2016, posting mediocre numbers between Double- and Triple-A for both organizations.
In an interview with the Pensacola New Journal, McGuire said that having the certainty of just going out and playing in what might be a waning baseball career has allowed him to find his groove.
“I’m just really enjoying the ride now,” McGuire said. “I think that was the thing I took for granted for awhile. I started getting too much into it’s my job. That’s a really hard way to play this game.”
This year, McGuire put up a 3.11 ERA through 168 innings in Double-A, the best and most consistent results of his career.
Good on ya, Deck. It’s a shame it didn’t work out with the Blue Jays, but as we know very well from our experience with Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Justin Smoak, and Marco Estrada, a change of scenery can make a world of difference in baseball.