The SF Giants are evidently looking at all possible options to improve a bullpen that has struggled mightily in 2022. On Sunday, it was reported that they had acquired left-handed reliever Ben Bowden in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays.
SF Giants reportedly make trade for former second round pick
There is no word yet on the return and the trade has not been reflected in the Giants' transaction log yet. That said, Durham Bulls broadcaster, Patrick Kinas, relayed that the transaction had been complete. Durham, which was the location used in the movie Bull Durham, is the Triple-A affiliate for the Rays.
Bowden was originally drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the second round of the 2016 draft out of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. The front office does like players who come out of Vanderbilt and Bowden could be the next in line.
The 27-year-old pitcher has missed considerable time as a pro including the entire 2017 season due to a shoulder injury as well as the 2020 season, which was cancelled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That said, he did move fairly quickly up the minor league ladder, reaching Triple-A in just his second full, healthy season as a pro.
Across five minor league seasons, the lefty has registered a 3.42 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 12.7 K/9, and a 2.87 SO/W ratio while working exclusively out of the bullpen. Given his draft pedigree, Bowden was considered one of the better prospects in the Rockies system as he represented them in the 2019 Futures Game.
The former second round pick debuted with the Rockies in 2021 where he posted a 6.56 ERA with 42 strikeouts against 21 walks across 35.2 frames.
Bowden was designated for assignment in April and was claimed by the Rays. He has posted a 2.45 ERA in 21 appearances with the Bulls.
The southpaw flashes a fastball that sits in the low 90's but with good spin that he pairs with a changeup and an occasional slider. The slider was effective in his brief time with the Rockies as opposing hitters registered just a .133 batting average against it. It would not be surprising to see the Giants ask Bowden to lean more heavily on his slider.
For San Francisco, they add another lefty reliever to the organization. Given that Jake McGee has been released and José Álvarez is on the injured list, there is an opportunity for another left-handed pitcher to carve out a role in the Giants' 2022 bullpen.