Rob Bowen Rumors

Giants Seek Catcher, Reliever

According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News:

Scouts are buzzing that the Giants are actively looking to upgrade at backup catcher and long relief. One possibility is catcher Rob Bowen, whom the A's released Tuesday.

Baggarly suggests the Giants' trade chips include pitchers Luis Perdomo and Merkin Valdez, as well as outfielder Eugenio Velez.

A handful of catchers remain on the free agent market, including new member Josh BardTracy Ringolsby wonders if the Rockies will renew their interest in Bard.  The Marlins, however, don't appear interested according to's Joe Frisaro.  The free agent market also features about a dozen relievers.

A’s Release Rob Bowen

According to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s released catcher Rob Bowen today.  They’ll go with Landon Powell as Kurt Suzuki‘s backup.  Bowen had been placed on revocable waivers on Friday.

Bowen, 28, hit .176/.219/.286 in 98 plate appearances last year.

A’s Place Rob Bowen On Waivers

According to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A’s placed catcher Rob Bowen on revocable waivers.  Bowen is out of options, so he’ll have to clear waivers if the A’s are to send him to Triple A.  Bowen came to the A’s in July of 2007 as part of the Jason Kendall deal.

Cubs Acquire Jason Kendall

The Cubs made a deal tonight, sending catcher Rob Bowen and pitcher Jerry Blevins to the Athletics for Jason Kendall and cash. (ESPN keeps saying it was Sean Marshall going to Oakland, which is silly and not true).

Kendall had a respectable .758 OPS in June, but his bat has been anemic otherwise.  But as signified by the questionable Michael Barrett trade, the Cubs are looking for defense at catcher. (Incidentally, Jim Hendry acquired Barrett from Beane in December of ’03 for Damian Miller).  Kendall can certainly handle the pitching staff.  And it wouldn’t be shocking to see him hit a little bit back in the NL; he rarely strikes out and knows how to draw a walk. 

The Cubs didn’t give up much here.  Bowen is a backup at best.  Blevins, a southpaw reliever, will turn 24 in September.  He’s been dominant in 53 innings between High A and Double A, but he’s not anyone’s idea of a top prospect.  I like the move for the Cubs.  As for Oakland, it gives them a chance to try Kurt Suzuki full-time for a few months as an audition for 2008.

Michael Barrett Traded To Padres

According to Buster Olney, Michael Barrett has just been traded to the Padres.  The Padres will also receive cash in the deal.  Ken Rosenthal believes the amount of cash is greater than $1MM, since it needs approval from the commissioner’s office.  In return, the Cubs received backup catcher Rob Bowen and a young outfielder named Kyler Burke

Burke, 19, was drafted 35th overall out of high school last year based on his huge power potential and athleticism.  He hasn’t shown anything against pro pitching yet.  Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus says Burke has an "enormous ceiling" with a strong right field arm.  This is an upside play by Jim Hendry – Burke could be a star or a complete bust.

Bowen will provide the Cubs a mostly defensive-minded backstop, although that’s what they have already.  He was once seen as a future starter as a Twins minor leaguer, but his bat never panned out.  Bowen has teamed up with Henry Blanco before, when both were Twins.  Bowen was a waiver claim for his last two teams, so that gives you an idea of his value.  On the plus side, he’s speedy for a catcher and a switch-hitter.

The Padres, meanwhile, are looking to bolster their offense in the present and Barrett should be able to help despite his poor start to 2007.  I’m not too worried about chemistry issues despite Barrett’s recent incidents.  Barrett is reunited with Greg Maddux, who he caught from 2004-06.  Barrett is a free agent after the season.

Jim Hendry and Kevin Towers matched up last year, as the Cubs dumped off veterans Scott Williamson and Todd Walker to San Diego for some arms.