On Saturday, November 20th, the St. Louis Cardinals made their fourth minor league signing outside the organization with the acquisition of pitcher Deck McGuire. The ex-first rounder first announced via Twitter that he is joining the Cardinals.
McGuire, a 6-foot-6, 220-pounder, was originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the first round in 2011, 11th overall. Seen as a fast-riser, the right-hander reached Double-A in his first full professional season but struggled in 2012 before pitching as a reliever in the Arizona Fall League. He was then added to the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster.
After being hit around in his Triple-A debut in 2014, the Virginia native moved to the Oakland A's organization after being designated for assignment by Toronto. Not even a month later, McGuire was outrighted, removed from Oakland's 40 man roster, before being given his release as 2015 spring training concluded.
The 26-year old latched on with the Los Angeles Dodgers on a minor league deal, making the Dodgers his third organization since 2014. McGuire hurled 30 games (18 as a starter) between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City in 2015, going 9–6 with a 3.69 ERA. McGuire struck out 119 and walked 36 in 136 2/3 innings. He has yet to make his MLB debut.
As he will detail below, McGuire throws four pitches - a low 90s fastball, slider, change-up, and curveball. His ultimate role is undetermined but looks destined to fill in as the replacement for Nick Greenwood as a swingman for the 2016 Memphis Redbirds.
In this exclusive interview, McGuire discusses his rollercoaster ride through several organizations over the past few years, what he learned in that process, what changed for him as he found success with the Dodgers, and much more!
Derek Shore: How do you describe the past few seasons?
Deck McGuire: These past few seasons have been just an example of how crazy the life is: I've been designated, traded, outrighted, and released, but it's just all part of my story.
DS: What have you learned in your time playing professional baseball?
DM: I've learned how to handle adversity. This game is hard and you will fail. It's all about bouncing back and enjoying the ride.
DS: What changed as you found success this past season with the Dodgers at the Double-A and Triple-A levels?
DM: I think it's a cliché’, but I found some consistency. Over the last couple years, my fastball command started to show up but the past year it was from start to finish. It allowed me to develop that consistency.
DS: Could you tell me about your repertoire and velocity, what you consider your out pitch, and pitch(es) that could use additional work?
DM: Fastball sits in the low 90s, curveball, slider and changeup. My ability to use the four pitches at any time is what I use as my out pitch. It isn't any one in particular.
DS: What scouting report would give on how you approach each hitter, whether it be demeanor or mentality on the mound?
DM: I mean my demeanor never really changes. I'm a fun-loving guy, and I love being on the field. Being able to play baseball is an honor and a privilege. I'm just happy to have the chance.
DS: What area of your game could you improve on?
DM: I can always improve on my execution. I feel like my stuff can play anywhere, but I get hurt making mistakes. Minimizing those mistakes are something I am constantly working on.
DS: You have experience as a reliever in the AFL not too far back, and it’s not unusual to see a starter-turned-reliever see in an uptick in velocity, but which role do you enjoy most?
DM: I like starting, but after the AFL and even coming out of the pen in all situations last year in both AA and AAA was fun in its own way. I think starting better fits me, but I'm up for either if it helps my team.
DS: Obviously we are months from any professional baseball, but did the Cardinals discuss with you a specific role with the Memphis Redbirds in 2016?
DM: They haven't and I'm sure just like any other year I will go to spring training with the mentality of competing for a job wherever they need me.
DS: Finally, have you set any individual goals as you pitch for a whole new organization?
DM: The only goal going into any season is make it to the big leagues. I guess my only other thought would continue to get better and help your team win ball games. Winning tends to solve everything else.
Bonus for members of The Cardinal Nation: Cardinals AFL Prospect Interview: Charlie Tilson
Coming at TCN: Interview with Cardinals pitching prospect Luke Weaver.
Follow Derek Shore on Twitter @D_Shore23.
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