The Yankees have signed right-handed reliever Matt Bowman to a two-year minor league contract, Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports. Bowman will earn a $900K salary if he makes the majors in either of the next two seasons.
Considering Bowman underwent Tommy John surgery in September, it seems like an extreme long shot that he’ll impact the Yankees at all in 2021. More realistically, New York can hope he’ll return to health during the second season of his deal and re-emerge as a viable big league reliever.
The 29-year-old Bowman began his career as an effective workhorse in St. Louis, where he combined for 126 1/3 innings of 3.70 ERA/3.47 FIP pitching from 2016-17. Bowman, who averages 91 mph on his fastball, didn’t rack up many strikeouts in those years (6.98 per nine), but he helped make up for it with an impressive 58.4 percent groundball rate.
Unfortunately for Bowman and St. Louis, he wasn’t able to turn in a third straight solid season in 2018. Bowman had multiple stints on the injured list because of blisters, logged a 6.76 ERA/4.73 FIP and recorded a career-worst 48.5 percent grounder mark in 23 innings. That was the end of the line with the Cardinals for Bowman, whom the Reds claimed before the 2019 season. Bowman returned to his previous form that year in Cincinnati, where he put up a 3.66 ERA/3.68 FIP and a 55.1 GB rate, but his elbow injury stopped him from pitching in 2020. The Reds moved on from Bowman in the wake of his surgery.