Cards take Bowman, lose Perdomo in Rule 5 Draft

Club sees righty competing for long relief role

Cards take Bowman, lose Perdomo in Rule 5 Draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Cardinals lost a power arm in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, but they also snagged a pitcher from the Mets' organization who they believe can compete for a long relief role on the Major League roster.

Right-hander Matthew Bowman, a former 13th-round Draft pick out of Princeton University, became the Cardinals' first Rule 5 pick in four years when they took him with the final selection of the Draft's first round. The club had earlier lost right-hander Luis Perdomo to the Rockies, who then flipped him to the Padres.

Complete Rule 5 Draft results

Bowman, 24, struggled with the Mets' Triple-A Las Vegas affiliate in 2015, going 7-16 with a 5.53 ERA and 1.679 WHIP over 28 appearances (26 starts) while striking out 77 with 51 walks in 140 innings. However, his home park was among the least pitcher-friendly in the Pacific Coast League.

"It's a tough place to pitch [in Las Vegas]," general manager John Mozeliak said. "You also just look at his history. Last year you could argue was an outlier, and I think role will matter. That's something that we have focused on and looked at, and hopefully we can take advantage of it."

Though Bowman has been used primarily as a starter during his Minor League climb, the Cardinals intend to give him a chance to nab a long relief role this spring. It is a low-risk move for the organization, which paid the Mets $50,000 for the acquisition. Bowman must stick on the Major League roster for a full season or else be offered back to New York for half of that price.

"This is a chance," Mozeliak said. "It's not that big of a risk. And when you look at opportunities of the Rule 5, that's exactly what it is. That's why it exists, to create roster movement."

Perdomo, ranked as the Cardinals' 11th-best prospect by MLB Pipeline, will be one of four Rule 5 picks trying to stick on San Diego's roster. The Cardinals left the 24-year-old off their 40-man roster and therefore unprotected after he struggled during the season's second half.

Perdomo, who represented the Cardinals in the 2015 All-Star Futures Game, allowed 35 runs (31 earned) and a .318 opponents' batting average over his final nine appearances (42 1/3 innings).

"When you look at pure performance over the last year, the trend line was not good," Mozeliak said. "That's not to say that's who he is. But we felt like he is someone we could expose and maybe ultimately get back."

The Cardinals made two additional selections in the Triple-A portion of the Draft, plucking pitchers John Brebbia (D-backs) and Michael Heesch (Cubs) for a purchase price of $25,000 each. The club lost six players to other clubs during that phase, including RHP Jhonny Polanco (Red Sox), RHP Cory Jones (Orioles), RHP Kender Villegas (Brewers), SS Robelys Reyes (D-backs), OF Mike O'Neill (Cubs) and RHP Fernando Baez (Rays). Right-hander Juan Caballero was then taken from the organization by the Marlins in the Double-A phase of the Draft.

"Obviously there was a lot of activity," Mozeliak said, "which I think speaks to an overall strategy of just taking chances."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.