John Bowker Rumors
- Manny Ramirez told ESPN's Pedro Gomez that he can be a role model if an MLB team gives him a chance. "I want to show people that Manny can change, that he can do the right thing," Ramirez said.
- Colby Lewis told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he and the Rangers have had some talks about an extension (Twitter link). Lewis is set to hit free agency after the 2012 season, when he'll earn $3.25MM.
- Johnny Damon expressed some frustration with the Rays, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. "It's an unhappy day,'' Damon said after hearing that Luke Scott had agreed to terms with Tampa Bay. "Didn't realize the DH and 1B brought the offense down [in 2011]. Thought we would've had an offer.''
- Renyel Pinto signed with the Softbank Hawks for $910K plus incentives, according to this Sponichi report relayed by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.
- More from Newman, who passes along another Sponichi report that has the Yomiuri Giants working on a deal with outfielder John Bowker. The Phillies granted Bowker his release earlier in the week.
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.
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.
Today's notes on recently-outrighted players:
- The Brewers sent Brandon Boggs outright to Triple-A to create roster space for Zack Greinke, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (on Twitter). Boggs has three days to choose between Triple-A and free agency.
- Pirates outfielder John Bowker cleared waivers and was assigned to the team's Triple-A affiliate, according to their Twitter account. Bowker had been designated to clear a spot for waiver claim Xavier Paul.
- Same goes for Rockies' righty Alan Johnson, according to the Pacific Coast League's transactions page. The Rockies had designated Johnson for assignment to create 40-man roster space for Alfredo Amezaga. Johnson made his MLB debut for the Rockies this year, when he started on April 17th.
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...
- The Pirates expect waiver claim Xavier Paul to play all three outfield positions, according to Colin Dunlap of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Manager Clint Hurdle told Dunlap that he's confident Paul can cover lots of ground on defense, a skill the Pirates appear to value more than John Bowker's hitting ability at the moment.
- Hurdle told Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the Pirates didn't have much use for Bowker. "He was my third left fielder, my third right fielder, my third first baseman," Hurdle said.
- Though newcomer Brandon Wood has started three consecutive games at shortstop, Hurdle told Biertempfel that Ronny Cedeno hasn't necessarily lost his job. Cedeno failed to run out a ground ball this week and has been struggling at the plate.
- Earlier this morning, the Pirates returned Rule 5 pick Josh Rodriguez to the Indians.
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 Jones, Matt 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.
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.
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.
Here's some news items from what might be baseball's most competitive division next season....
- ESPN.com's Rob Neyer says that despite John Bowker's big spring, he's not likely to get regular playing time in the majors unless there's an injury in San Francisco or unless "the Giants trade him to an American League team looking for a cheap DH."
- Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Giants infielder Emmanuel Burriss will be out until June due to foot surgery, leaving the team in need of a utility infielder. This tracks with the information reported yesterday about the Giants looking for such a player in exchange for Fred Lewis. If a deal isn't out there, San Fran might be best served to just hang onto Kevin Frandsen. He's no whiz with the glove (Fangraphs lists him with a career UZR/150 of -13.5 at shortstop, albeit over just 198 innings), but this might not be a problem in the short-term if the Giants just need him as a reserve SS until Freddy Sanchez is healthy and Juan Uribe can move into the reserve middle-infield role.
- Speaking of middle infielders, the Diamondbacks have a surplus of them and Augie Ojeda looks to be at the top of the trade list. MLB.com's Jesse Sanchez reports that while the Snakes would like to make a move for pitching, their plans are complicated since they don't know how much time Brandon Webb will need to get healthy.
- Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com says that Ivan DeJesus has gone from being seen as a potential future starting shortstop to "perhaps trade bait" for the Dodgers.
- Ronald Belisario still hasn't arrived to spring training due to visa issues, reports MLB.com's Ken Gurnick. The fact that Belisario is out of options further complicates matters,
- Padres RHP Tim Stauffer is also out of options, but MLB.com's Corey Brock predicts that San Diego will be able to deal him to "a pitching-starved team" rather than putting him on waivers.