michael bowden cubsWhen Matt Garza returns from the DL on Tuesday to start in Pittsburgh, he’ll bump Carlos Villanueva to the bullpen. The question then is who gets bumped from the bullpen.

Shawn Camp? He certainly hasn’t pitched well this year, and isn’t going to accumulate any meaningful trade value between now and the Trade Deadline.

Hector Rondon? He’s a Rule 5 guy whom the Cubs like, and they aren’t going to dump him now for nothing. Of course, they could just put him on the disabled list for a few weeks with a “bad back.”

Carlos Marmol? The Cubs don’t seem inclined to release him right now (he did look pretty sharp today), and there probably isn’t much of a trade market. So it won’t be him.

No, according to Bruce Miles it’s going to be Michael Bowden, who is out of options, getting designated for assignment. The 26-year-old righty was great down the stretch last year (after previously being DFA’d and clearing waivers, incidentally), and has a 3.78 ERA and 1.140 WHIP. Then again, he’s striking out just 3.8 batters per 9, and walking 2.7. Small sample size, but he hasn’t been dominating.

Still, is risking losing Bowden for nothing really the right move? I know you can only kinda-sorta play disabled list games with a guy like Rondon, but I’m a little surprised that the Cubs aren’t going to try.

We’ll see if something changes tomorrow, but, as of right now, it looks like the Cubs will DFA Bowden, and try to figure out whether to trade, release, or waive him. Presumably, the Cubs would love to find a trade partner (unlikely) or see him clear waivers so they can outright him to AAA Iowa.

  • William

    My head hurts after reading that!

  • Jay

    You’ve got to be F***ing kidding! Camp would clear waivers easier than this guy and deserves the demotion far more.

    • demz

      maybe they see him getting worked into the rotation? get some time down there and work on your secondary pitches?

      You never know.

  • JoyceDaddy

    I would prefer that Camp gets the boot but surely the FO and Dale know more than I do.

  • Mush

    Typical Cub move. I am really pissed to hear this. Keep a rag arm 38 year for a 26 year old with some promise. Jesus Christ !!!

  • cjdubbya

    With the Braves’ recent run of injuries in the pen, might they be a trade partner?

    • Melrosepad

      Personally, I’d check with them to see if they want Camp for couple of steak dinners.

  • Melrosepad

    I know Bowden has a low K/9 rate right now, but for his major league career it is at 6.7 and 7.3 for AAA. Just seems like it will even out over time.

  • Dustin S

    Yeah I don’t like this move either. I would be very surprised if Bowden makes it through waivers. Keeping 37 year-old Camp on a rebuilding team over 26 year-old Bowden doesn’t make much sense. Even if Bowden had options it’s a bad baseball move. Likely losing him to keep a guy that has no trade value, has not pitched well, and most importantly who isn’t really a part of the Cubs future…ugh.

    Smells a lot like another case of Sveum playing favorites. I like Sveum and he’s done a fairly good job with what he’s had, but if I had to pick a knock against him it’s that.

    • demz

      Who says Sveum had any input on that roster move? You are just making things up at this point.

  • Grant

    Ugh..I really hope they don’t do this. I doubt Bowden clears waivers. This may be another lesson in the value of a roster spot (that we’re wasting on a certain former closer).

  • http://Noclue SenorGato

    Bowden isn’t that good? Not that big a deal. The bullpen projects to have some interesting interal JAG options in the second half with Rivero, Lin, Cabrera, Moscoso, Loux, maybe McNutt, etc.

    Camp at least has a rubber arm for innings and has a tracks record of getting ML hitters out. He’s gone next year for sure, Bowden was a guy auditioning to be him, and Bowden did not get the job.

    • AB

      yea, I wouldn’t have DFAd Bowden, but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

      Alberto Cabrera is the only one of the guys you listed I’m excited about and is having a half-way decent season. I’d go as far as saying Cabrera is really the cubs only legit bullpen prospect between A+ and AAA just based on the numbers test. The rest are just filler. Lin and Moscoso might contribute I guess.

      I’d be interested to see what the AA guy here says about McNutt, if his stuff is not developing, even in the pen.

      • SenorGato

        I wouldn’t argue against that. He’s the only guy that interested me there too. If he continues to succeed as a starter in AA then call him up in August for a spot start and move him to the bullpen in September. Hopefully the team is playing relevant ball then, and I expect they will.

        Everyone else on that list is a JAG/depth/fodder/etc. That is about where Bowden falls in at this point.

  • baldtaxguy

    Does not appear to be the correct move. Unless there is something else upcoming, I cannot see the benefit of risking losing a young, relatively effective bullpen piece.

    • CubFan Paul

      Bowden is a soft tossing righty. Dime a Dozen.

      Theo&Co want power arms. The weak is getting weeded out and eventually Camp (& his 86mph fastball) wil be gone too.

  • Die hard

    Camp to be traded soon?

    • Die Harder

      Do you honestly think they will find a trade partner for Camp?

      • Jp3

        C’mon, don’t steal Die Hard’s name!!😀and no camp isn’t worth a bag of wet farts at this point

    • Andy

      Camp isn’t worth a bucket of balls.

      • Die hard

        Cincinnati may nibble

  • Justin

    Who cares. Bowden is one of the most marginal/crappy upside players in all of the MLB. Plus he has a really stupid looking release.

  • Alex

    Shocked to hear it, but I think this only buys camp limited time with that ERA.

  • Andy

    Bowden has been the best reliever the Cubs have had all season, not named James Russell. This smells a lot like Dale’s bromance overruling any cold assessment being made.

    • SenorGato

      The guy’s thrown 17 innings with 7 Ks out of the bullpen. Why bet on his already mediocre numbers to get better?

      • Hansman1982

        Cause…well…Camp just doesn’t have TWTW.

    • cjdubbya

      I think that Kevin Gregg Maddux might like to have a word with you.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    I don’t like to pretend I know more about baseball than the people who do it for a living, but this move just doesn’t make sense to me. It won’t have that much of an effect on the team this year, next year or any year because we are talking about some marginal relievers that wouldn’t really belong on any team in contention. But it does concern me that the FO would DFA Bowden instead of Camp.

    • SenorGato

      I don’t get why Bowden is better outside of ERA.

  • JoeyCollins

    Not too sure about this move, but really can’t imagine it matters much. The rotation is better with Garza, the pen is better with Villanueva. The minor difference of Bowden over Camp will not make this a winning team.

  • EricR

    Both Camp and Bowden have meh numbers, but wouldn’t Bowden be able to eat more innings? That alone seems to be worth something on a rebuilding team.

  • Kyle

    Yeah, it’s not the move I would have made, but I can’t bring myself to even be annoyed by it. Bowden is terrible and has no upside, 26 or not. Camp is terrible and also has no upside. *shrug*

  • mudge

    While I’m not terribly upset, neither am I completely unmoved; yea, I have achieved a preternaturally appropriate level of disinterested affect, based on all of the evidence available, compounded with the admittedly small sample size of y’all’s reactions.

  • Stevie B

    Calm down people. Garza still hasn’t had his morning shower yet today….stay tuned. Gods wrath forthcoming….

  • Spriggs

    I’m shocked that anyone even cares about this move. They are not losing anything significant here. The fact that Bowden is only 26 – just means that potentially, he could blow for a longer period of time than Camp will. But odds are, they will both be gone from baseball in a couple years – so their ages do not matter. Heck, if it’s so important to have young guys around 26 who really blow, maybe they can get Justin Berg back (or bring up Blake Parker).

    • Grant

      My main source of annoyance isn’t really the possibility of losing Bowden, it’s that this is yet another sign that the FO refuses to accept the truth about Marmol.

  • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

    Camp was just fine last year and has had an ERA at 3.60 or better (and FIP right around 4) for 3 of last 4 years with 66-80 innings pitched.
    Bowden’s never thrown 40 innings. Last year was his career best at 39.2 innings and a FIP at 4.48.

    Camp will have better results at the end of the year.

  • ssckelley

    I do not like this move either, I think Bowden has earned the right to stay on the roster over Camp. But honestly I don’t think Bowden would have made the team out of spring training without Garza’s injury, if I am not mistaken he was the last guy to make the cut.

  • http://bleachernation Bsteady

    THIS IS A TERRIBLE MOVE!! Bowden may not be great, but he was very good at the end of last year and has an E.R.A. under 4 this year. He’s also only 26 years old. We’re rebuilding with youth and supposed to be “waiting” to get better, yet we’re going to risk losing him and keep and 37 or 38 year old whose pitched awful this season. In my eyes Camp’s done and the guys in charge should get a good ole fashioned a*$ whoopin if they don’t release Camp instead. GET THESE YOUNG ARMS SOME EXPERIENCE!!

    • Cubbie Blues

      Although I agree with most of what you said, you will find if you change the tone in which you write you will get better responses. Otherwise you might just get a response like, MOAR!!!

    • Cedlandrum

      I tend to agree with you. They must really believe in Camp, because that is who i would let go.

  • http://bleachernation Bsteady

    Nice response. The tone is to emphasize how bad the move is. Camp is the clear and obvious choice here. We’re losing and rebuilding, yet we’re going to hang onto an old washed up reliever? Guys like Blake Parker, Dolis, etc. should’ve already been up here in his place.


    I’d rather have Bowden and some of the other guys they have DFA’d (Scott Maine, Jeff Beliveau) than Camp.

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