After winning over 62 percent of their games in 2018 and 2019, the New York Yankees had a somewhat mediocre season in 2020 by their lofty standards. They finish second in the AL East with a 33-27 record, and lost in the ALDS in five games.
Fourth in the league in runs scored, the Yankees were a pedestrian 14th in team ERA at 4.35. Looking for arms to improve the bullpen is essential and one arm added was right-handed reliever Matt Bowman. The two-year minor league contract will pay Bowman $900 thousand if he makes the Major League roster either in 2021 or 2022. The chances for Bowman to have any contribution to next season is slim to none considering he underwent Tommy John surgery in September. However, the New York Yankees feel signing Bowman is worth the shot that he can return in 2022 and be a contributor out of a shaky bullpen.
At 29-years old, Matt Bowman should still have plenty of years left in the tank after recovering from the surgery. In 2016 and 2017 Bowman showed durability and consistency, posting a combined ERA of 3.70 in 134 games covering 126 1/3 innings. Not a strikeout pitcher, Bowman keeps the ball in the ball, which is vital in today’s power hitting game. The consistency Matt Bowman showed diminished in 2019 when he ground-ball percentage went down, thus his ERA climbed to a lofty 6.26. However, he got back on track last season with the Reds, posting an ERA of 3.66 over 27 games.
If Bowman makes any appearances late in 2021, even at the minor league level, it will be a great accomplishment off Tommy John surgery. Realistically, this is a no-lose situation for the Yankees. Should Matt Bowman come back with any sort of resemblance prior surgery, the Yankees will have solidified the bullpen. That won’t happen until at least 2022.