michael bowden cubsIt was (surprisingly) reported over the weekend that the Chicago Cubs intended to make space for Matt Garza on the roster by designating reliever Michael Bowden for assignment. Today, the Cubs made good on that report, per the Cubs.com transaction wire. Garza reenters the rotation, Carlos Villanueva moves to the bullpen, and Bowden enters limbo.

After designating him, the Cubs will have 10 days to trade, release, or waive Bowden. They’ll probably see if any team is interested in a deal, and, if not, they’ll waive him and cross their fingers.

The 26-year-old righty has a 3.78 ERA over 16.2 innings this year with the Cubs, and, on that basis, given the dearth of available relief talent around baseball, the CubsĀ might be able to swing a trade for a comparable minor league player who gives them a little more roster flexibility (i.e., a low level guy).

That said, Bowden’s peripherals are uninspiring and his velocity has been dropping for a few years now. His fastball currently sits at just 90, which probably isn’t what the Cubs are looking for in a reliever like Bowden. In other words, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bowden go untraded and subsequently waived, with the Cubs not terribly nervous about the outcome of the process.

  • Ben

    Hey Brett, thoughts on why Bowden was the choice over Camp?

    • ssckelley

      I think this is a question we would all like answered.

      • Melrosepad

        Beyond what Brett mentioned the only other thing I can think of is if they wanted to keep him as veteran leadership.

        • fromthemitten

          They didn’t want to eat Camp’s salary and Bowden’s more likely to accept a minor leagues assignment… or maybe they already have a deal in place for Bowden and are just waiting for he medicals

    • Justin

      Bowden and Camp are both terrible. I really think that neither of them mean anything towards the Cubs winning now or in the future. The front office must feel that Camp may have more trade value on the market. Bowden has been DFA’d mulitple times by the Cubs, and they received him only after he was DFA’d by the Red Sox. He completely blows..

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      I’m thinking:
      1) the bullpen has sucked this year
      2) Camp has sucked so far, but its only 16 innings
      3) Camp has had FIP’s around 4.00 for 3 of the last 4 years, so they don’t believe in the SSS
      4) Bowden has never thrown more than 40 innings in a season
      5) They believe Camp will be better than Bowden moving forward.

  • Voice of Reason

    This move makes no sense.

    Camp is overwhelmingly the obvious choice.

    Does Bowden have that kyle Farnsworth party way about him??

    There is a reason it went down this way. There has to be something about Bowden.

  • MikeW

    Bowden isn’t great for all the reasons Brett touched on but I just can’t see the reasoning for kicking him out now instead of Camp. Makes zero sense. It’s not as if Camp has any trade value.

  • Whiteflag

    Call the Wren up, the Braves are in need of bullpen arms.

  • TimL

    Perhaps the FO didn’t see enough difference between the two to overrule Sveum’s preference for Camp. IIRC, he used the MVP tag on him last year. Just a thought.

  • DaveY

    Fred Mitchell in the trib reports that Castro is bringing his entire family to Chicago. He is the oldest of 5 siblings with three brothers and one sister. So I have to ask the obvious question… do any of his brothers play?

  • another JP

    The only thing that makes the Sanchez waiver claim curious is the Bowden DFA- Sanchez throws hard but Bowden has a longer track record in the majors and better control. At only 23 there’s definitely upside potential for Sanchez, but I have to believe the FO is gambling that Bowden clears waivers… otherwise there was no real reason to keep Camp instead. But the Cubs are a bit thin on additional ML short relief options right now so it’s an acceptable low-risk move I guess.

    • Justin

      I really don’t think the FO cares too much if Bowden clears waivers or not. What he has done this year is probably his upside. And if everything ever broke right for Sanchez (health, and mechanics) he could be a dominant bullpen arm. Any chance they have of getting an impact arm they are going to jump on, even if the chances are low. Bowden was not an impact arm in anyway.

  • Steve Ontiveros’ Mustache

    The only way this makes sense is if Bowden clears waivers and goes to Iowa as a stash. But even then, I don’t think that will happen and I don’t think it is worth the risk. In the long run, it doesn’t matter. Neither Camp nor Bowden are all that good, and won’t have much of an impact on the Cubs this year or any year.

  • Cubs_Questions

    The velocity on Bowden’s fastball is down for the second straight season, from 92.6 mph in 2011 to 89.9 mph now. That’s not exactly a small change and Bowden is only 26 which is troubling that his velocity is dropping like this.

  • 5412


    If it came to a tossup, there is good reason to keep Camp. It is not a bad thing for an organization to have a reputation of treating players fairly. Camp is getting a good chance to turn things around. He earned it last year when we rode him like a quarter horse for a mile long race.


  • Bob Johnson

    Really shocked it was Bowden. He was one of our better relievers the second half of last year. His velocity may be down but I expect to see him as a starter somewhere before his career is over. I believe he did this in winter ball last year.

  • Fastball

    Well he is not Donnie Moore or Felix Hernandez so we don’t have to worry about him going somewhere and turning into a world beater. Good kid who is losing his gas. He is a straight arm pitcher. Never liked his delivery no whip. What pisses me off is Camp is still on this team. He SUCKS… I should come out of retirement. I Still throw 10 mph faster and I am 20 years older. I can’t stand watching him. He is and always has benn a joke. I dislike more than Marmol and that’s hard for me dislike someone more than Marmol. $9M for the most unreliable pitcher in baseball. Less reliable than the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks.