Reds right-hander Matt Bowman will undergo Tommy John surgery later this week, manager David Bell announced to reporters Monday afternoon (Twitter link via C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic). Given the timing of the procedure, he’ll likely miss the entirety of the 2021 season.
Bowman, 29, hasn’t pitched this season due to an elbow sprain. The club originally optioned him to the alternate training site in late July, but that move was rescinded when Bowman’s injury was discovered after the fact. He was placed on the Major League injured list instead and has spent the season there, accruing service time along the way.
Bowman has spent his entire big league career in the NL Central, pitching with the Cardinals from 2016-18 and the Reds last season. His lone season in Cincinnati resulted in a 3.66 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 over the life of 32 innings. That solid showing would likely have put him in position to pitch out of the Reds’ bullpen again in 2020 had he been healthy. Now, his future with the organization is up in the air. Bowman will finish this season with four-plus years of MLB service time, meaning he’ll be arbitration-eligible over the winter. Given that he’s a long shot, at best, to pitch at all in 2021, he’s a virtual lock to be non-tendered. Cincinnati could bring him back on a minor league arrangement, but Bowman may also wait until the 2021-22 offseason to latch on with a new organization.
In 181 2/3 innings at the Major League level, Bowman carries a 4.02 ERA and a 3.67 FIP with averages of 7.5 strikeouts, 3.0 walks and 0.7 homers per nine innings pitched. He’s also turned in a strong 56.6 percent ground-ball rate, picked up two saves and been credited with 41 holds in the big leagues.