Kevin Slowey Rumors
The latest Twins rumors, courtesy of ESPN 1500's Phil Mackey...
- Joe Nathan's top priority is to pitch for a winning team next year, preferably as the closer. Last week Nathan's agent said his client seeks a closing job. "Money won't be the driving force" for Nathan, writes Mackey. Mackey says Nathan has strong interest in returning to the Twins, who definitely have openings at the back end of their bullpen.
- Mackey hears that Michael Cuddyer will "listen attentively to all interested parties," even if the Twins make the best offer. The Twins maintain interest in Jason Kubel as well. At the least, I expect they'll offer arbitration to both of them later this month.
- Mackey's hunch says to keep an eye on Clint Barmes, Kelly Shoppach, and Ryan Doumit as potential free agent targets. I ranked Barmes 35th among free agents on Monday, predicting the Twins as his new team. Make your picks for Barmes and 49 other free agents by Sunday night for the chance to win cash and baseball-related prizes and bragging rights. Over 3,000 people have entered so far.
- There's a very good chance the Twins will non-tender righty Kevin Slowey, wrote MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger on Monday.
- The Twins' 2012 payroll is expected to decrease slightly, leaving $20-25MM to spend, wrote Bollinger on Saturday.
- View MLBTR's projected salaries for Slowey and the Twins' other four arbitration eligibles here, and read Ben Nicholson-Smith's offseason outlook for the team here.
Kevin Slowey established himself as a decent back-of-the-rotation starter in his first three-plus Major League seasons, but 2011 has been different. The Twins have shown little confidence in Slowey, using him for just 14 2/3 innings so far and considering trades for him in the offseason, in Spring Training and at the trade deadline. The Twins called Slowey back up this week, so now is a good time to examine his chances of getting a contract offer from Minnesota this winter.
Slowey has spent considerable time on the disabled list this year, first with right shoulder bursitis and later with an abdominal strain. Over the course of two rehab stints and an optional assignment, he has a 3.60 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9 in 50 minor league innings. If those numbers look familiar, it's because Slowey had similar MLB stats from 2007-10. He posted a 4.41 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9 in 473 1/3 innings heading into 2011.
Those stats and Slowey’s career 39-21 record helped the right-hander to a $2.7MM salary this season, his first as an arbitration eligible player. He’s eligible for arbitration again this offseason and though he’s certainly not going to earn much of a raise, the Twins can’t offer less than $2.16MM (80% of Slowey’s current salary), according to the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
That price might seem steep to the Twins, who don’t appear to view Slowey as an essential member of their pitching staff. So assuming he doesn’t overwhelm the Twins between now and the end of the season, Minnesota’s front office will have a few options this offseason. Flip Slowey to another club for a modest return, work out an affordable one-year deal for 2012 before the deadline for teams to tender eligible players contracts, non-tender him or go through the arbitration process like they did last year. Given how Slowey’s season has progressed so far, only the last option would be a surprise.
Photo Courtesy Icon SMI.
Jose Reyes’ injuries have hurt his free agent stock, as we saw earlier today. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark surveys people around MLB to determine what kind of contract the shortstop will obtain in free agency. Here are the details and the rest of Stark’s rumors:
- There’s buzz that the Mets were prepared to offer Reyes $100MM over five years earlier in the summer, Stark reports. It’s not hard to imagine the Mets scaling back their offer or replacing guaranteed years with vesting options now.
- One of Stark’s sources estimates that each day on the disabled list costs Reyes $500K. However, there's no doubt that Reyes will see some substantial offers this winter.
- Rival teams expect the Padres to trade Heath Bell this month, Stark reports. The Cardinals and Diamondbacks are the serious NL contenders with the worst record (62-53), which makes them prime candidates to make a claim on Bell. Assuming he does get claimed, the Padres will only be able to trade with the claiming team, so they’ll want to time his placement on waivers carefully.
- The Astros’ sale is just a week away, Stark writes. Other clubs are hearing that incoming owner Jim Crane may drive payroll down to $50MM or below from $71MM.
- One executive expressed his surprise at the Twins’ decision to keep Kevin Slowey, a non-tender candidate who’s currently earning $2.7MM at Triple-A. “If they'd traded him, at least they would have gotten something,” the person said. At least they would have gotten rid of the money. So I'm just not sure why he's still there."
For a while, it seemed as though we'd have a quiet trade deadline. So much for that - today we saw Ubaldo Jimenez, Derrek Lee, Orlando Cabrera, Rich Harden, Koji Uehara, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Jason Marquis, Mike Aviles, Jerry Hairston Jr., Doug Fister and David Pauley all get traded. Let's gear up for the deadline itself with another round of links...
- The Twins would like to move Kevin Slowey and the Rockies are interested, though they don't want to pay too much for him, according to Scott Miller of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- Teams are still calling on Bruce Chen, Jeff Francis and Kyle Davies of the Royals, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). Any deal will likely come at the deadline tomorrow.
- Teams are still inquiring on Brandon League, even though top Mariners executives have said he's going nowhere, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels expects a quiet day tomorrow, according to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com (on Twitter).
- The Astros would love to convince Carlos Lee that there's no point in refusing to waive his no-trade clause, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
- The Astros wanted a package of players including Josh Reddick and Kyle Weiland from the Red Sox for Hunter Pence, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
The Twins are discussing a deal with the Nationals that would send Denard Span to Washington, possibly for Drew Storen. Here are some more updates on the Twins from Jon Paul Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
- The Twins are open to trading Delmon Young and Kevin Slowey, but interest in Young has been “tepid.” Slowey has drawn interest from the Rockies and others.
- Meanwhile, Jason Kubel and Michael Cuddyer, are drawing strong interest. The Twins are more likely to trade Kubel than Cuddyer, according to Morosi and Rosenthal.
- The Twins have also spoken to rival teams about upgrading their rotation.
- The Twins are six games back in the AL Central, trailing three other teams. One of FOX’s sources says they’re “in limbo.”
Scott Miller of CBSSports.com has updates on the trade market. Here they are...
- Miller’s sources expect the Rays to trade B.J. Upton by Sunday (click here for the latest on Upton).
- Angels owner Arte Moreno has approved a payroll increase, according to Miller. The Angels are looking for a third baseman, but they would send Erick Aybar to the Mets for Jose Reyes straight up, according to Miller. The Mets, however, aren’t interested; they’ll keep Reyes instead.
- Minnesota is expected to trade Kevin Slowey, who continues to draw interest, according to Miller. Earlier tonight, we heard that the Rockies are interested in Slowey.
Historically speaking, July 26th has been a busy day for the Indians. The Indians and Cardinals swapped Mark DeRosa and Chris Perez on this date in 2009; the Tribe acquired Carlos Santana for Casey Blake on this date in 2008; the Indians acquired Shin-Soo Choo for Ben Broussard on this date in 2006; they sent Russell Branyan to Milwaukee on this date in 2004 and they signed Marco Scutaro as an amateur free agent in 1994. This year, they're buyers. Here's the latest on the Indians and their division rivals...
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti says the Tribe has had continued dialogue with the agent for first round pick Francisco Lindor, though there’s no real update on the talks (Twitter link).
- Tigers owner Mike Ilitch told Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News that he'd be "extremely disappointed" if the Tigers don't make the playoffs this season. GM Dave Dombrowski and manager Jim Leyland are in the final years of their respective contracts.
- The Rockies and others continue to pursue Kevin Slowey, according to Yahoo's Tim Brown (on Twitter). Earlier in the month, it became clear that the Pirates and Rockies were among the clubs with interest in the Twins right-hander.
Let's check in with the latest from the middle of the MLB map....
- The Pirates are not interested in Twins right-hander Kevin Slowey, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. (Twitter link) We heard last week that the Bucs were looking at Slowey, who went to high school in Pennsylvania.
- Cardinals GM John Mozeliak is hoping to improve his team without moving a player from the Major League roster, but Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch hears that "to accomplish [their] trade goal," the Cards will have to deal at least one Major Leaguer.
- With the Cardinals aggressively pursuing starting pitching, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch roundtable discusses which pitchers would be available at the lowest cost to the Cards. I like the idea of St. Louis getting a second-tier arm like Chris Capuano, since the Cardinals' search for bullpen help means they won't be able to meet the asking price for both a top starter and a top reliever such as Heath Bell.
- Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star details the Royals' scouting and pursuit of Felipe Paulino, who has pitched well since being acquired from the Rockies in May.
- The Brewers are continuing negotiations with first-round draft picks Taylor Jungmann and Jed Bradley, reports MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Brewers amateur scouting director Bruce Seid described the talks as "a work in progress," while GM Doug Melvin felt the draft picks' respective agents weren't approaching the talks with much urgency leading up to the August 15 deadline.
Add the Twins to the list of teams interested in Orioles reliever Koji Uehara. Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that both the Twins and O's have sent representatives to scout the other in the past week and Minnesota is known to be looking for bullpen depth.
As Connolly notes, the two clubs have a recent trading history --- Baltimore acquired J.J. Hardy from Minnesota last winter. The two also seem like a good match since the Orioles "likely are looking for Major-League-ready starting pitching and young position players" and the Twins have several young outfielders and Kevin Slowey potentially available in a deal.
Uehara has a bit more than $1MM remaining on the one-year, $3MM contract he signed with the O's last winter and he has a $4MM option for 2012 that will vest if he reaches 55 appearances. Given that Uehara has 40 appearances already, this option is a virtual certainty to vest. The 36-year-old Osaka native is having a stellar year, posting a 1.84 ERA, a 7.25 K/BB ratio and an 11.9 K.9 rate in those 40 appearances with Baltimore.
Here are some late night links as Thursday turns into Friday...
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports spoke to rival executives who believe the only three Mariners off limits in trade talks are Felix Hernandez, Michael Pineda, and Dustin Ackley. Impending free agents like Adam Kennedy, Jack Wilson, and Jamey Wright are certainly on the block, but pitchers Jason Vargas, Brandon League, and Doug Fister would be the most interesting trade candidates.
- The Blue Jays scouted Kevin Slowey's minor league rehab start on Wednesday night, tweets Morosi. They've had interest in him since Spring Training.
- MLB.com's Todd Zolecki says the Phillies are unlikely to add both a reliever and a right-handed bat before the trade deadline. Healthy returns from Brad Lidge and Jose Contreras could be all the bullpen help they need.