Minnesota has six starters for five rotation spots and Kevin Slowey looks likely to be the odd man out, with Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting that the Blue Jays “had three scouts watching” his start yesterday.
According to Christensen the Blue Jays “like Slowey and have relievers to spare,” which makes them a good fit as a trade partner after the Twins lost half their bullpen to free agency this offseason in Matt Guerrier, Jesse Crain, Brian Fuentes, Jon Rauch, and Ron Mahay.
Slowey is making $2.7 million this season and is under team control for two more seasons, so the wisdom of dealing him for bullpen help is certainly questionable. He’s never thrown more than 160 innings in a season and struggled with arm problems last year, but Slowey has a 4.41 ERA in 473 career innings through age 26 and his minuscule walk rate of 1.50 per nine innings ranks second in baseball since his debut in 2007, sandwiched in between Roy Halladay (1.42) and Cliff Lee (1.54)
No word yet on which relievers the Twins are targeting from the Blue Jays’ well-stocked bullpen, but they were linked to Jason Frasor at various points last season.
Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the White Sox and Diamondbacks have emerged as two of the strongest contenders for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. It seems like a foregone conclusion that Baltimore will deal their superstar infielder this winter, but nothing appears imminent just yet. While both the White Sox and D-backs have reportedly made serious offers, Orioles owner Peter Angelos is wary of any non-contending team that might be incentivized to flip Machado to the rival Yankees next season.
The White Sox, for their part, have assured the Orioles that they view Machado more as a solid one-year rental than the new face of their franchise, with no immediate plans to deal him elsewhere. Given their current rebuilding status and the unlikelihood that they would contend in 2018, it makes their offer a bit of a head-scratcher — and, as USA Today Sports’ Bob Nightengale points out, they’ve been reluctant to put any top-5 prospects on the table in preliminary negotiations.
The Diamondbacks, on the other hand, are far better positioned to enter the postseason in 2018, though that doesn’t automatically make them the perfect landing spot for Machado. They already have Jake Lamb stationed at third base, and while it’s not inconceivable that they could jettison the Ketel Marte/Chris Owings/Nick Ahmed shortstop platoon for someone of Machado’s talent, his $17 million salary appears to be more than the D-backs are currently capable of absorbing.
The White Sox and D-backs may have exhibited the most interest in Machado so far, but they’re hardly the only contenders here. MASN Sports’ Roch Kubatko maintains that the Cardinals and Yankees remain in discussions for the 25-year-old, with Cardinals’ RHP Jordan Hicks and catcher Carson Kelly drawing interest, as well as Yankees’ top prospect Gleyber Torres. Any deal involving the Yankees still feels like a long shot, however; as Craig mentioned on Wednesday, it makes sense that the club wouldn’t want to see their star player hanging around their division rivals in 2018, and the Yankees should be well prepared to make a run at him in free agency next winter.