Larry Bowa was in Houston last week meeting with the Astros, but the team declined to say what exactly it was about other than general manager Jeff Luhnow saying “baseball-related matters.”
Bowa was more forthcoming yesterday, admitting that he was indeed there to interview for the manager job. That means Bowa is now one of five known candidates for the gig, along with interim manager Tony DeFrancesco, Nationals third base coach Bo Porter, Red Sox bench coach Tim Bogar, and Rays bench coach Dave Martinez.
Bowa stands out from that group because he’s 66 years old and has tons of managing experience, going 81-127 (.389) with the Padres from 1987-1988 and 337-308 (.522) with the Phillies from 2001-2004. He also stands out because he’d seemingly be an odd choice for the Astros’ analytical, sabermetrically inclined front office.
Bowa, who’s currently working for MLB Network as a television analyst, called his meeting with the Astros “a good interview” and “a good conversation.”
The Mets signed left-hander Matt Purke to a minor league deal, the team announced Friday. Purke will also receive an invitation to spring training, where he could presumably beef up the club’s left-handed relief options alongside Jerry Blevins and Josh Smoker.
Purke has not appeared in the majors since 2016, when he was used in a dozen relief appearances by the White Sox. The 27-year-old racked up a 5.50 ERA, 6.0 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 in his first 18 innings with the team, and was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte in June to finish out the season. He spent the entire 2017 season in Triple-A as well, showing more promise with a 3.84 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 11.0 SO/9 in 48 appearances.
While Purke may not amount to much more than a depth piece in New York’s ‘pen, the veteran lefty figures to be part of the Mets’ new bullpen-first strategy next year. Reports from MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo indicate that the club will be focusing on improving their relief options in order to ease the workload of their starting pitchers, and will likely add a few more arms before the offseason comes to a close.