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Phillies’ search for bench bat leads to John Bowker

Aug 31, 2011, 10:15 AM EDT


The desire to add a left-handed bench bat for the playoffs led the Phillies to sign and quickly release Jack Cust and now they’ve acquired John Bowker from the Pirates for a player to be named later or cash considerations, according to Jim Salisbury of

Bowker has been at Triple-A for most of this season, hitting .306 with 15 homers and an .830 OPS in 106 games, but the 27-year-old corner outfielder/first baseman has played 228 games in the majors for the Giants and Pirates while hitting just .237 with a .679 OPS.

That includes a .248 batting average and .718 OPS versus right-handed pitching and even at 27 his solid minor-league track record suggests Bowker is capable of more if given another extended opportunity. He won’t get that down the stretch in Philadelphia because his role would be mostly pinch-hitting, but Bowker is a solid low-cost pickup.

And because he’s expected to join the roster today, Bowker will be eligible for the playoffs.

  1. drmonkeyarmy - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    Has to be an upgrade over Ross Gload, right? I will say this for Gload: he has been showing some signs of life recently…a double last week, a hard hit ball last night.

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:26 AM

      Too little… too late…

      • cleverbob - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM

        Thumbs up, unfortunately.

  2. halladaysbiceps - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:30 AM

    My guess is that this Bowker guy is used for only the month of September, but does not sniff the playoffs UNLESS they decide to go with one less pitcher. It seems to me that they will not replace Gload with him at this point come playoff time. I think they are happy with the bench as it stands come the playoffs. In other words, he’s an insurance policy should one of their bench players get hut.

    • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

      They have gone with less, in the NLDS they carried what? 10 pitchers?

      • FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:36 AM

        I’m referring to last year.

  3. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 10:39 AM

    Maybe I’m just being a little over-confident, but again, if the NLDS, NLCS, or WS comes down to the Phillies’ left-handed bat coming off the bench then there is no chance they are winning the World Series. This team is going to win by having that historic starting pitching give up 3 or less runs each and every game in the playoffs. Period.

    • mercyflush - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:33 AM

      i would think that the impact that Matt Stairs had on game 4 of the 2009 NLCS would have convinced you that the entire postseason roster is important and can affect any game and/or series.

  4. delawarephilliesfan - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:28 AM

    I hear ya Chris, I do. But….think of this:

    Game 4 of the NLCS last year, Jayson Werth hits a Double to tie the game nobody out in the 8th. He never moved off 2nd base, and the Phillies lost the game, fallign behind 3-1 in the series

    Flashboack to Game 4 of the 2009 NLDS – Phillies down 2 runs in the 9th inning at Colorado, and Ryan Howard hits a Double to tie the game, then later scores and the Phillies win the series

    Sometimes the little things are enormous!

    • Chris Fiorentino - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:43 AM

      OK delaware, I agree with you in those two instances. However, this is a whole new Phillies team and here is why.

      Last year, the Phillies sent Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels up as the first three in the NLCS….they lost two of three because of a fluke named Cody F’ing Ross. OK, fine. That kind of stuff happens. Imagine this year, if it were the same thing. Instead of having to send up Heavy B…they now send up Cliff Lee. It’s a whole new ballgame. This pitching is too dominant to allow them to lose 4 out of 7 games. I’m almost not even afraid of the World Series at this point with how inconsistent the Red Sox and Yankees starters have been.

      • delawarephilliesfan - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:00 PM

        Yea, and I do agree that this will be decided by pitching. And heck, you could even flip my original argument around – the Phillies lost Game 4 despite having there best offensive output of the series. So 4 aces is better then 3.

        But I do like that they never stand put, and I want them to go 11-0. So get every bit of insurance you can!

  5. FC - Aug 31, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    It never hurts to try and improve no matter how inconsequential it may seem.

  6. deep64blue - Aug 31, 2011 at 12:25 PM

    Wonder if Brown is coming up today so he’s eligible for the post-season?

  7. felser - Aug 31, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    How is this a better idea than Brandon Moss would be?

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