March 13, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Michael Bowden (64) throws a pitch in the fifth inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE
Yesterday, shortly after I opened a Community Discussion about the Red Sox outfield situation, Boston traded pitcher Michael Bowden to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Marlon Byrd. Bowden had recently been designated for assignment. The Red Sox filled the outfield spot by giving up an arm that was no longer in their long-term plans, while the Cubs acquired a 25-year-old pitcher with a chance to help.
Bowden is no longer a rookie and was lost in the shuffle in Boston, but I think he can be useful for the Cubs. A supplemental first round pick in 2005 from high school in Aurora, Illinois, he has been effective as both a starter and reliever in the minor leagues and had nothing left to prove in Triple-A. His major league performance has been mixed; he has a 5.61 ERA in 59 career innings with a 48/23 K/BB and 71 hits allowed, but I think he's capable of better, useful as a middle reliever at least. His stuff isn't spectacular, but he has three pitches (fastball, slider, changeup) and a good minor league track record.
He could return to starting at some point, and in many organizations he would have been given much more of an opportunity than he received in Boston. Bowden also has a local connection with the Cubs, being from the Chicago area. I think he's a nice pickup for a 34-year-old outfielder in the decline phase of his career.