San Francisco Giants Sign John Bowker, Travis Blackley to Minor League Deals
John Bowker played semi-regularly for the Giants in 2008 at age 24, but he wasn’t the real deal and had the good sense to try his luck in Japan after his age 27 season. He hit a big home run for the Yomiuri Giants in the 2012 Nippon Series and turned it into a three-year NPB career. He hit pretty well in 2013, but faded playing for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in 2014 and finished the season in the Mexican League. He turns 32 in early July, so it’s unlikely he’ll be anything more than AAA roster-filler at this stage of his career.
The same is true unfortately for Blackley. An Australian, Blackley has played professional baseball just about everywhere. Aside from MLB and the minor leagues, he played in the Mexican League in 2010, South Korea’s KBO in 2011, and Japan’s NPB in 2014.
The NPB stint didn’t work out too well, so he’s back in the Giants’ organization hoping to become the next Ryan Vogelsong. I don’t see it happening, but at age 32 also in 2015, it’s not entirely outside the realm of possibility. He pitched pretty well in NPB’s minor league, and a decent 2015 season in AAA could at least get him another shot at pitching in the KBO for more money than he’ll make in AAA.