Kevin Slowey Rumors
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.
The Rockies and Pirates are among the teams showing continued interest in Twins hurler Kevin Slowey as he nears the end of a minor-league rehab assignment at Triple-A Rochester, major-league sources told Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com. The 27-year-old is currently on the disabled list with an abdominal strain, but he is said to be healthy now.
The veteran is earning $2.7MM this season but hasn't been able to find a spot on the team's big league roster. If the Twins don’t deal him soon, it’s possible that Slowey will be kept in the minors on an optional assignment.
Slowey will not be a free agent until after the 2013 season. For his career, the right-hander has a 4.43 ERA with 6.8 K/9 and 1.5 BB/9.
Ken Rosenthal has his lastest Full Count video up over at FOXSports.com. Let's go over the highlights:
- If the Marlins make a managerial change, the most likely candidate would be Nationals' third base coach Bo Porter. Porter spent five years with the Marlins, and three as a Major League coach. Rosenthal wonders if the Nats would let him go to a division rival midseason, and if Porter would accept the job on an interim basis, knowing the Marlins ultimately want Ozzie Guillen. Porter turned down a similar offer last season.
- Rosenthal asked Yankees GM Brian Cashman if he would consider trading for an ace, and Cashman replied, "I'm not Ruben Amaro," referring to the Phillies GM and his affinity for blockbuster trades. Rosenthal names Wandy Rodriguez as a potential target for New York, but says there could be a hangup since the Astros value Rodriguez as an ace, while the Yanks would view him as a back-of-the-rotation addition.
- The Phillies are doing their due dilligence in looking for right-handed hitters and left-handed relievers, but are limited by payroll issues. They also don't currently have regular at-bats for any hitter they'd acquire. Rosenthal says someone like Ryan Spilborghs, making $2MM with the Rockies, is the type of hitter that would be appealing to Philadelphia.
- The Rockies could be buyers or sellers, depending on their play over the next month. If they're buyers, they'll seek innings-eating pitchers (Rosenthal names Hiroki Kuroda of the Dodgers and the Twins' Kevin Slowey as possible targets), while if they sell they could look to move Huston Street, Ty Wigginton, and Aaron Cook.
Links for Tuesday night, as Tigers catcher Alex Avila enjoys his third career two-homer game...
- Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told MLB.com’s Brittany Ghiroli that he will continue considering internal and external replacements for Brian Roberts, who won't return before the end of May (Twitter link).
- Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains that the Cardinals demoted Mitchell Boggs in spite of his strong 2011 numbers because they can stretch him out at Triple-A. The Cards could have near-term needs for starters or middle relievers.
- On a related note, GM John Mozeliak told Tom Krasovic of MLB.com that he may explore trades for relievers at the deadline. However, Mozeliak says it’s still too early to predict with certainty that the bullpen will be the Cardinals’ biggest need this summer.
- Rockies left-hander Jorge de la Rosa has a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow, the team announced (on Twitter). Tommy John surgery appears to be a likely option for de la Rosa.
- Troy Renck of the Denver Post suggests we should keep Kevin Slowey in mind as a possible target for the Rockies should they look outside of the organization for rotation depth (Twitter link).
- Yahoo's Jeff Passan calls Daisuke Matsuzaka a "$103MM migraine" and reports that the right-hander has ignored what the Red Sox have wanted him to do since signing with Boston. Matsuzaka, who has a sprained UCL, might never pitch for the Red Sox again if he needs Tommy John surgery, according to Passan.
- Jim Bowden of ESPN.com previews his top five potential sellers at this year's trade deadline: the Mets, Astros, Twins, Cubs and Padres.
The Kevin Slowey relief experiment has ended, and a change of scenery appears to be in order. The 27-year-old control artist told Twins manager Ron Gardenhire he was having a hard time as a reliever, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Slowey is headed back to Triple-A to get stretched out as a starter, but Gardenhire implied on ESPN 1500 that the right thing is to find the righty a starting opportunity with another club. After Sunday's game, Slowey had this to say to Neal:
"I understand our situation here. I understand the starters we have here, and I understand that, even given past successes as a starter, this might not be the right fit for me anymore."
That's a far cry from March of 2009, when Slowey talked to MLBTR about how he'd love to stay with the Twins long-term.
It's odd that a team with the second-worst rotation in the AL to date can't find room for Slowey, but Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker are pitching well and Francisco Liriano and Carl Pavano were very good last year. There's a case to be made for replacing Brian Duensing, but the Twins may prefer to give top prospect Kyle Gibson a look.
Slowey is not without his flaws. He's a righty with a 90 mile per hour heater. He's hittable, and his high flyball rate makes him prone to the longball. He's averaged about 5.5 innings per start in recent years and hasn't reached 175 in a season since '07. Most recently, he battled a shoulder strain in April.
Some team has a chance to buy low on Slowey, though, since he is capable of a sub-4.00 ERA. Slowey is earning $2.7MM this year, and is under team control through 2013 as an arbitration eligible player. Given how the 2011 season has gone so far, his 2012 raise should be limited. Contenders like the Red Sox and Marlins are currently hurting for starting pitching, though needs will become clearer for all teams a month or two from now. The Blue Jays reportedly had interest in Slowey in early March.
Links for Wednesday, after a walk-off win for Brandon Inge and the Tigers...
- Yankees manager Joe Girardi says Pedro Feliciano has a "damaged shoulder" according to Ben Shpigel of the New York Times (on Twitter). It sounds like surgery is a possibility for the Yankees' $8MM investment.
- Tsuyoshi Nishioka’s leg injury weakened the Twins' middle infield, which means they may look for infield help, rather than relievers in potential deals, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports. Trade candidate Kevin Slowey hasn’t pitched in a game since April 4th because of bursitis in his right shoulder, but he could become available again this season.
- Anthony Rendon nudged out Gerrit Cole for top spot on Baseball America’s updated list of top draft eligible players.
- The Yankees were frustrated that the Astros never made them fully aware that Roy Oswalt was available last summer, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Credit Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. for acquiring Oswalt quietly and later denying the Yankees their primary offseason target, Cliff Lee.
Some links to browse through during your Sunday evening...
- Add the Rangers to the list of clubs that are not interested in recently released Carlos Silva, reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan (on Twitter). The Yankees and Cardinals are also out.
- The Angels can opt out of their stadium lease in 2016, but owner Arte Moreno told Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times that the team has not begun exploring the possibility of building a new stadium. That process would have to start at least four years before the planned opening date.
- Indians manager Manny Acta told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian that there are likely to be roster moves made on Monday when the 25-man roster is finalized (Twitter link).
- Tom Krasovic spoke to several scouts about teams and players from all around the game.
- In regard to CBA talks, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that the "general consensus is that a hangup or even the slightest threat of a work stoppage would be shocking."
- Within the same piece, Cafardo says the Twins aren't as willing to deal Kevin Slowey as it may seem. One scout opined that the right-hander is "throwing too well for them to deal him."
- The Rockies continue to receive calls about their middle-infield depth, but the club isn't looking to move either Eric Young Jr. or Alfredo Amezaga, according to Troy Renck of the Denver Post.
- Dave Bush earned a spot in the Rangers' bullpen as a long man, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Bush would have opted out of his contract today if he didn't make the team.
- The Red Sox' bullpen depth has drawn interest from other teams, a source tells Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
MLBTR's Luke Adams & Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
The Red Sox have five proven starters and a handful of viable alternatives, but that’s not stopping GM Theo Epstein from looking for more possibilities for the rotation, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Red Sox are looking for starting pitching depth and would love to add a veteran who’s open to pitching at Triple-A until he’s needed.
Wakefield, Aceves and Doubront are the team’s primary alternatives to the starting five of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka. It also appears that the Red Sox will start Andrew Miller at Triple-A and stretch him out as a starter in the minors.
Though some starting pitching is available, none of it appears to be a logical fit for the Red Sox. The $16MM remaining on Joe Blanton’s contract makes him an unattractive option; it seems doubtful that the Red Sox would meet the Twins' asking price for Kevin Slowey only to stash him in the minors and the Red Sox don’t appear to have much interest in Jeremy Bonderman.
I listed a number of potentially available starters earlier in the week.
However, the Twins don’t have many promising trade possibilities, since two of the teams looking for a starter, the Brewers and Mariners, don’t have relievers to spare. The Cardinals, Dodgers, Blue Jays and White Sox seem inclined to replace injured starters with pitchers already in their respective organizations, according to FOX Sports.
Meanwhile, Pirates and Diamondbacks officials say they aren’t actively looking to trade for starting pitchers. As Morosi and Rosenthal point out, the Twins are able to consider moving a quality starter like Slowey because they have promising minor league starter Kyle Gibson.
Slowey didn't seem like a fit for the Blue Jays earlier in the spring, partly because Toronto already had a number of legitimate rotation options. Now that Brandon Morrow will start the season on the DL, the Jays could use the starting depth, but injuries to their relievers limit the likelihood that they can part with a late-inning arm.
Here's a list of other potentially available starters.