Twins take a flier on former Yankees pitcher who could have high-upside payoff

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game One / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

As Minnesota Twins fans contiune to wait for the team to make some sort of big move, the front office is busy buying lottery tickets.

Minnesota has made exactly one free agent signing this winter, adding former Kansas City Royals reliever Josh Staumont to the bullpen. Outside of that the Twins have been signing lottery ticket deals on lower level players who could pay off but aren't going to outright move the needle.

The latest one of those signings was Matt Bowman, a true MLB journeyman who ticks a ton of boxes the Twins like to look for in these sorts of gambles. He was a decent reliever with the Reds and Cardinals at the end of the last decade, but has been marred by injuries over the last few years.

He had Tommy John Surgery back in 2020 and didn't end up working his way back to the Majors until this season when he made three apperances for the New York Yankees. Now he's on his way to Minnesota and perhaps to a role that finally sees him get back to the pitcher he was before.

Twins sign former Yankees pitcher on another high-upside gamble

According to MLB insider Mark Feinsand, the Twins agreed to a minor-league deal with Bowman and will be bringing him to Spring Training as a non-roster invitee.

This is a classic Twins upside signing, as Bowman has shown in the past that he has the stuff of a reliable reliever. He's a nasty sinkerball pitcher who kept the ball on the ground on more than 55 percent of batted balls allowed during his time with the Reds and Cardinals between 2016 and 2019.

The Yankees called him up last September, a move they did to block him from opting out and becoming a free agent -- which seems notable. In three appearances for New York, Bowman was a little uneven, allowing four runs on six hits while striking out three batters and walking another. He ended up with a 9.00 ERA that might look worse than it seems, which appears to be what the Twins are looking into by bringning him in.

His stuff earlier in his career is reason for optimism, as was his work in the Yankees minor league system as he worked his way back. Bowman posted a 3.99 ERA across 58 2/3 innings behind an above-average 51.9 percent grounder rate. There are still things to work on, but given he had a three year battle back from Tommy John surgery, he gets a little wiggle room.

Whether or not he ends up rediscovering his earlier magic is what the Twins are hoping to find out. He'll cost less than $1M to test drive, which is reasonable, and he fits the theme of Minnesota waiting for a big deal by collecting a few lottery tickets to bide its time.

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