Bob Howry Rumors

Bob Howry Retires

Right-hander Bob Howry, a 13-year veteran, has retired, writes Carrie Muskat of

Howry's 769-appearance career (all in relief) was bookended by stints with the Chicago ballclubs. He broke in with the White Sox in 1998 and spent four-plus years there, then moving onto the Red Sox, Indians, Cubs, Giants and Diamondbacks before returning last year to the North Siders, with whom he made his final Major League appearance before being cut loose on July 30.

Howry was drafted out of McNeese State University by the Giants in the fifth round 1994. He was involved in two trades, one in which Keith Foulke, Wilson Alvarez, Danny Darwin and Roberto Hernandez were the moving parts, and another including Frank Francisco.

For his career, Howry finished up with a very solid 3.84 ERA and ratios of 7.5 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.

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Cubs Release Bob Howry

The Cubs released Bob Howry today to make toom for Carlos Zambrano, according to the team. Zambrano is returning from the restricted list. Howry began the year with Arizona and contributed to the problems that then-manager A.J. Hinch faced with his 'pen. The D'Backs released the righty in May and the Cubs signed him soon afterwards.

In 20.2 innings for the Cubs, Howry posted a 5.66 ERA with 3.5 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9, allowing 29 hits. Despite his history of success with the Cubs, he was no longer worth a roster spot.

Odds & Ends: Perez, Howry, Brewers

Sunday night linkage..

Cubs Sign Bob Howry

The Cubs are bringing Bob Howry back. They signed him to a major league deal today in the hopes that he can stabilize their bullpen and his career. They designated David Patton for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster and will option Justin Berg to the minors to create space on the active roster. Earlier in the week, the D'Backs released Howry, who used to set-up for the Cubs. The right-hander posted a 10.67 ERA in 14 appearances this year before the D'Backs had had enough of their $2.25MM investment.

MLBTR reported the signing after Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reported that the Cubs were interested in signing Howry and that the sides were close to a dealGordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Cubs expected Howry to join the team today.'s Carrie Muskat reported the details of the roster moves (via Twitter).

Cubs GM Jim Hendry had said that Cubs were on the lookout for right-handed relief, and he had many options to consider. The trade market has yet to fully develop, so Hendry went back to Howry, a reliever whose work he knows well. Howry posted a 3.90 ERA in 228.2 innings with the Cubs from 2006-08. Back then, Howry was much more effective than he was in Arizona this year. Still, his career numbers, especially those against right-handers (6.7 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9), suggest he's capable of better things.

D’Backs Acquire Saul Rivera, Release Howry

The Diamondbacks have acquired reliever Saul Rivera from the Indians for cash and released Bob Howry, tweets Ed Price of AOL Fanhouse.

Rivera, 32, has a 0.53 ERA, 5.8 K/9, and 3.7 BB/9 in 17 Triple A innings so far this year.  He's got similar peripherals over 275.6 career big league innings, leading to a 4.05 ERA.  Rivera was released by the Nationals in December (on his birthday) to make room for Brian Bruney.  He later signed a minor league deal with the Indians.

Howry, 36, was signed by the D'Backs to a one-year, $2.25MM deal in December.  In 14.3 innings this year, he sports a matching 3.8 in terms of home runs, walks, and strikeouts per nine innings.  That's not an effective formula.  Arizona's bullpen has a 7.68 ERA in 104.3 innings, so changes were necessary.  Aside from Aaron Heilman, everyone has struggled.

D’Backs Wary About Making Bullpen Moves

It's becoming conventional wisdom around baseball that it's foolish to commit too much money to closers and/or set-up men since most relievers see their effectiveness vary wildly from year to year.  While this logic may be sound, it can also leave a team's hands somewhat tied (and its fans frustrated) when the present bullpen isn't producing.

Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic spoke to Diamondbacks GM Josh Byrnes about the Snakes' relief woes.  Going into Friday's play, Arizona's staff ERA from the seventh inning on stood at an NL-worst 5.71 in such situations, and right-hander Esmerling Vasquez is the only D'Backs reliever with an ERA under 4.63.  Most of the attention has focused on closer Chad Qualls, who has blown two saves already and has a 7.36 ERA in 13 appearances.

Byrnes said changes could be made if things become dire, be it calling up "guys in the minors; [or] maybe we make a trade."  But Byrnes also preached patience, noting that "it's hard to stay the course with it, but sometimes that's the best thing to do."

Byrnes told Piecoro that "as far as major trade or a major expenditure [for a reliever], [it's] probably something we want to be very careful about."  Piecoro notes that the club considered acquiring the likes of Matt Capps, Rafael Soriano and former D'Backs closer Jose Valverde over the winter, but the price for Soriano and Valverde was judged to be too high, while Capps would only sign if he was guaranteed the closer's job.  The Diamondbacks instead picked up Bob Howry and Aaron Heilman, which MLBTR's Tim Dierkes was "not enthused" about, and chose to keep Qualls as the closer after his solid 2009 season (24 saves and a 3.65 ERA in 51 appearances).  These moves look ripe for second-guessing at the moment given that Qualls, Howry and Heilman have all tough starts while Capps, Soriano and Valverde have pitched extremely well.

Arizona has a 14-15 record but is just four games behind the division-leading Giants.  Given that a hot two weeks can put a club on top of the tightly-stacked NL West, Byrnes might be forced to roll the dice on another reliever should his club still have a shot at first place come the summer.  D'Backs fans demanding that the Snakes blow up their bullpen and bring in reinforcements, however, should be careful what they wish for.  The team's last midseason deal for a reliever saw them pick up Jon Rauch in July 2008 and he subsequently put up a 6.56 ERA for Arizona that season.

Odds & Ends: Padres, Greene, Dye, Giants

Here are some links to close out the week…

Diamondbacks Sign Bob Howry

The Diamondbacks signed reliever Bob Howry to a one-year, $2.25MM deal today.  The contract pays $2MM in 2010 and has a $3MM club option for 2011 with a $250K buyout.  Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic first reported the agreement on Saturday, while's Steve Gilbert added contract details today.

Howry, 36, posted a 3.39 ERA, 6.5 K/9, and 3.3 BB/9 in 63.6 innings for the Giants in 2009.  We first heard the D'Backs were interested in the Arizona native a few weeks back after LaTroy Hawkins was scooped up by the Brewers.  Howry is the D'Backs' second bullpen addition of the winter, as they acquired Aaron Heilman from the Cubs in November.

Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.

Odds & Ends: Bedard, Phillies, Yankees

Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but these links are so delightful…

  • Don't count on Erik Bedard signing anytime soon, says Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times.  Until teams get a better handle on when he will be healthy enough to pitch again, you won't see money being thrown his way.  When he does sign, Baker expects his deal to be heavily loaded with incentives – even more so than the contract given to Rich Harden by the Rangers.
  • With Brad Lidge and J.C. Romero recovering from elbow surgeries, the Phillies are turning their attention to the bullpen, writes Todd Zolecki of  While common sense dictates that GM Ruben Amaro would sign two relievers to fill the void, he says that the team might just ink one and let their younger pitchers take the remaining jobs.  Zolecki floats the names of three potential free agent targets: Bob Howry, Miguel Batista, and Kiko Calero, adding that the club has liked Howry and Batista in the past.
  • The Cubs are in need of a center fielder after the trade of Milton Bradley, but they are not leaning towards any particular candidate, according to Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.  According to sources, Marlon Byrd and Scott Podsednik are the strongest options on the open market.  However, the duo writes that GM Jim Hendry may also look into striking a deal with the Yankees for Brett Gardner or Melky Cabrera if they become available.
  • Speaking of Bradley, Steve Henson of Yahoo Sports says that the Mariners will come to regret dealing for the troubled outfielder. 

Relief Names On D’Backs’ Radar

The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro gives us three relief names on the D'Backs' radar, now that LaTroy Hawkins is off the board: J.J. Putz, Bob Howry, and Brendan Donnelly.  The D'Backs already added Aaron Heilman on November 19th.

Putz will reportedly throw for teams tomorrow; he's got the White Sox, Cubs, Nationals, Pirates, and Tigers as other known suitors.  We haven't heard much on Howry and Donnelly yet.  I think Donnelly is a possible sleeper, as outlined in this October discussion post.

The Diamondbacks can certainly expand their search beyond those three righty relievers - we outlined the free agent market here and trade market here.