The New York Yankees don’t have much salary space left to spend in free agency, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t add more talent to their minor-league system. Filling the reserves with depth pieces that might make an impact during 2023 isn’t a bad idea — and it’s cheap!
Preferably, the Yankees won’t have to utilize any of these last-resort arms, but they did ink veteran relief pitcher Matt Bowman to a new one-year contract, according to the MLB transaction log.
Bowman is an intriguing relief pitcher, pitching 181.1 innings in his career, but hasn’t tossed a pitch for a Major League team since 2019 with the Cincinnati Reds. During that season, he posted a 3.66 ERA, 4.55 xFIP, 7.03 strikeouts per nine, and 0.59 home runs per nine across 32 innings. He wasn’t that bad, so the Yankees taking a flyer on him at 31 years old is justifiable.
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What does Matt Bowman offer the Yankees?
Bowman spent his first three years in the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, putting together two consecutive years of sub-4.00 ERA baseball until the 2018 campaign when he gave us 6.26 ERA. He bounced back nicely in 2019 but hasn’t pitched since, so the Yankees are hoping for a miracle if he can elevate his game and make an impact in some way, likely as a supplement to injury.
Bowman features a 4-seam fastball, slider, split-finger fastball, cutter, and curveball sequence. The freshest data comes from 2019, when his fastball generated a .260 batting average against with a 17.2% whiff rate and 15.5% put-away rate. His 4-seam fastball does generate 124% more horizontal movement than the average pitcher, and his slider 44% more horizontal movement. I wouldn’t sleep on his curveball either, a pitch that produces 124% more horizontal movement.
Historically, Bowman had some promise, but considering he hasn’t pitched in three years, he’s certainly a shot in the dark that won’t cost the Yankees anything if he doesn’t pan out.