Jan. 27, 2011
Special to Sting Daily
Former Georgia Tech All-American pitcher Deck McGuire became the ninth player in Georgia Tech history to be selected in the first round of the MLB draft when the Toronto Blue Jays took him 11th overall in 2010.
After signing a lucrative deal with the ball club just minutes before the deadline in August, McGuire has spent the past five months training hard to prepare for the next level. Sting Daily caught up with the 6-6 hurler for a quick Q&A about life after the Flats.
SD: For those that don’t know the whole process, what the past few months been like for you since you signed your contract with the Toronto Blue Jays?
Deck McGuire: “Well, from the June draft until August 17, it was absolutely excruciating. It was very stressful with not much talk, but once the deal was done and I signed, it was just a huge relief. Over the last couple of months, I have just been trying to lift, run and really get in shape for Spring Training. Right now, after basically five months off from normal competition, I am just ready to get going.”
SD: Speaking of the signing, which went down to the final hour, what was it like that night when you signed just before the deadline?
DM: “It was basically like months of negotiating meshed into about the final fifteen minutes. It was indescribable, really, but it was such a huge relief to get done. I never doubted one bit that it would get done, but I would never want to go through that again.”
SD: Have you been to any events with the organization yet?
DM: “I went to instructional league in Dunedin, Florida from Sept. 20-Oct. 23. It’s basically Spring Training in the fall for players that either need to work on some things, or players like me who didn’t get to play over the summer. It’s a five week program that is really a grind everyday. We woke up at 6 am and stayed at the field until 4 p.m.”
SD: Have you bought anything yet with the bonus?
DM: “I actually bought a car. I needed one really bad.”
SD: What kind did you buy?
DM: “A 2010 Black GMC Denali.”
SD: Have you been to Canada yet since signing with the Blue Jays?
DM: “Yes I have. During instructs I got to go to Toronto for a weekend and do the whole introduction deal. It is a really cool city. A little cooler than I expected. The ballpark there is very nice, and they can open the roof now, so it makes for a very nice venue. All in all, it reminded me a lot of Seattle over even a little bit of Chicago. It is very clean, and has a lot of traffic.”
SD: How is working with the new organization going so far for you?
DM: “They are really awesome. The whole front office is very new, so I was their very first draft. They are very dedicated to the development young players, which is why for the most part, they went the high school route this year. They spent a lot of time with us at instructs. They always had some rovers moving around and coming down to work with us in Florida during instructs, and like I said, they are just really focused on taking the time to develop players.”
SD: Have you gelled with any other players in the organization yet?
DM: “I have with a couple. Mostly a guy named Egan Smith from Utah, and another named Griff Murphy from California. They are both left-handed pitchers, which furthers my assumption that I was suppose to be left-handed. They are both going to be my roommates for spring training.”
SD: When do you report for spring training?
DM: “February 12th. We will be in Dunedin, Fla. It’s about 30 minutes south of Tampa.”
SD: Do you have any idea what class you will start out at?
DM: “The assumption is in high-A, which is also in Dunedin, but you never really know. I could pitch really well and start higher, but I could also do really bad and end up lower.”
SD: Have you learned any new pitches?
DM: “Actually, yes. They taught me a cutter when I was at instructs. After my second outing there, they just told me to go try it out in the bullpen. I started throwing it and they just said to keep working on it. It’s a true cutter that really freezes lefties. I think I had about four or five strikeouts when I used it during my last outing.”
SD: What is one thing that you learned at Georgia Tech that you will forever take with you?
DM: “The biggest thing I learned was how to handle people. Georgia Tech was the first time that I had been, for an extended period of time, on a team with people from all over with some really varying personalities. It really taught me how to communicate with people from all different walks of life, and that has been a huge help since I left.”