John Bowker Rumors

Quick Hits: Ramirez, Lewis, Damon, Pinto, Bowker

The latest links from around MLB as rumors about Prince Fielder and the Nationals continue to swirl…


Phillies Release John Bowker

The Phillies released outfielder John Bowker to allow him to pursue an opportunity in Japan, according to a press release.  The team's 40-man roster count now stands at 39.

Bowker, 28, was acquired by the Phillies from the Pirates in August.  The former third-round pick hit .306/.348/.482 in 451 Triple-A plate appearances last year, his fourth extended stint at the level.


Phillies Acquire John Bowker

WEDNESDAY: The Phillies announced the trade.  They are sending a player to be named later or cash considerations to the Pirates for Bowker, and Jose Contreras goes to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster.

TUESDAY: The Phillies acquired outfielder John Bowker from the Pirates, reports Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly.  Bowker is expected to join the Phillies for Wednesday's game in Cincinnati.  Salisbury says reliever Michael Schwimer was sent to Triple-A to create a spot on the active roster, though the Phillies will still need to open a 40-man spot.

Bowker, a 28-year-old left-handed hitter, has spent most of the year at Triple-A, where he's hit .308/.351/.487 in 445 plate appearances while playing the outfield corners and first base.  The Pirates acquired Bowker from the Giants at last year's trade deadline in the Javier Lopez deal, designated him for assignment in April of this year, and outrighted him to Triple-A a few days later.

Bowker, a third-round pick in 2004, is one of eight players in Giants history to homer in his big league debut.  He played college ball at Long Beach State, where he was a teammate of Troy Tulowitzki and Jason Vargas.



Outrighted: Boggs, Bowker, Alan Johnson

Today's notes on recently-outrighted players:


Pirates Notes: Paul, Bowker, Cedeno

Free agent addition Kevin Correia makes his sixth start as a Pirate tonight and he carries a 3.48 ERA into Pittsburgh's contest with the Rockies and their high-powered offense. Here's the latest on the Pirates…


Pirates Designate John Bowker For Assignment

THURSDAY: The Pirates officially announced the move this morning.

WEDNESDAY: The Pirates will designate John Bowker for assignment tomorrow morning, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (on Twitter). The Pirates needed to clear 25-man roster space for Xavier Paul, whom the Pirates claimed off of waivers from the Dodgers yesterday.

With Jose Tabata, Andrew McCutchen, Garrett JonesMatt Diaz and Lyle Overbay on the roster and Paul on his way, the Pirates will cut Bowker instead of carrying another outfielder/first baseman. In 18 plate appearances this year, he has a .250/.333/.313 line, not far from his career marks of .238/.289/.391. The 2004 third-rounder has already appeared at first base and in right field, the two positions he has played most often in his four big league seasons.


Pirates Notes: Doumit, Bowker, Rodriguez, McCutchen

The Pirates optioned Daniel McCutchen to Triple-A and reassigned Sean Gallagher, Tyler Yates, Wyatt Toregas and Josh Fields to minor league camp today. Here are more updates on the Pirates from Florida…

  • Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review hears that the Pirates will not release Ryan Doumit if they can't work out a trade (Twitter link). Though Doumit will earn $5.1MM this year, the Pirates like his bat.
  • GM Neal Huntington told Pat Lackey of Where Have You Gone Andy Van Slyke that the Pirates haven't focused on pitching in recent drafts, even though it might appear that way. The Pirates have just been selecting the players at the top of their draft board, according to Huntington. Pittsburgh picks first overall in 2011.
  • In a separate post, Lackey points out that John Bowker's strong spring has likely assured that Rule 5 selection Josh Rodriguez will be returned to the Indians. 
  • Huntington told reporters this morning that the goal for McCutchen at the Major League level would be for him to pitch multiple innings as a reliever. The right-hander may return to the Triple-A rotation.

Giants Acquire Javier Lopez

The Giants have acquired lefty reliever Javier Lopez from the Pirates in exchange for John Bowker and Joe Martinez

Lopez, 33, has two impressive numbers to his name this year: a 2.79 ERA and a 60.2% groundball rate.  Otherwise he's struck out few and walked many overall.  His splits show that he's somewhat effective against lefties and a poor choice against righties.  He signed a one-year deal with Pittsburgh before the season, and is still owed $287K this season. He is under team control as an arbitration-eligible player next year.

Martinez, a 27-year-old righty, posted a 3.32 ERA, 7.2 K/9, and 2.9 BB/9 with six home runs allowed in 81.3 Triple A innings this year.  Baseball America ranked him 30th among Giants prospects heading into the '09 season.  They called him "a groundball machine" with a "sinking 86-88 mph fastball, a true curveball and a plus changeup consistently down in the strike zone."  Martinez has yet to figure things out in his 41 career Major League innings, but he has retained his ability to generate grounders.

Bowker, a 27-year-old outfielder and first baseman, hasn't done much in the Majors aside from a less-than-terrible '08 rookie season.  He has managed to rake in the Pacific Coast League after multiple stints there, for what it's worth.  Baseball America ranked him ninth among Giants prospects before the '08 season, saying "he has strong hands and can hit good fastballs."

Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette tweeted that Lopez was on the verge of being dealt while Andrew Baggarly of The Mercury News later confirmed the deal and added details (all Twitter links). 

Mike Axisa contributed to this post. 


NL West Notes: Bowker, Giants, D’Backs

Here's some news items from what might be baseball's most competitive division next season….