Kevin Slowey

Kevin Slowey and the Twins are moving toward a trade


Kevin Slowey and the Twins have been heading in this direction since they demoted him to the bullpen during spring training despite a 4.42 ERA in 82 career starts and now LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that a trade may be in the works.

According to Neal the Twins are talking to Slowey about accepting an assignment to Triple-A so he can get stretched out as a starter again, but “there are indications a different change of scenery is possible.”

Ron Gardenhire hinted about a trade during his weekly radio interview Sunday and Slowey did more than hint at the same thing:

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. It’s a difficult situation. I don’t think either party is thrilled about how it went down. Hopefully it is something we can come to a decision on and move on.

Slowey has struggled to adjust to a bullpen workload, often being unavailable for multiple games at a time because of arm soreness, and he was never particularly durable as a starter. However, with a 4.42 ERA he’s proven himself as a perfectly solid mid-rotation starter and while this stat is far more misleading than it is meaningful, Slowey has the second-highest winning percentage in Twins history behind only Johan Santana.

There should be a decent trade market for Slowey, as he’s a 27-year-old mid-rotation starter with a reasonable 2011 salary ($2.7 million) and under team control via arbitration in 2012 and 2013. If the Twins don’t want his 150 innings of 4.50 ERA pitching in their rotation, some other team will. My guess is they swap him to an NL team for a mid-level prospect.

NL Wild Card Game: Cubs vs. Pirates lineups

Jake Arrieta

Here are the Cubs and Pirates lineups for tonight’s Wild Card game in Pittsburgh:

CF Dexter Fowler
RF Kyle Schwarber
LF Kris Bryant
1B Anthony Rizzo
3B Tommy La Stella
2B Starlin Castro
C Miguel Montero
SS Addison Russell
SP Jake Arrieta

Cubs manager Joe Maddon wanted Tommy La Stella in the lineup over Jorge Soler or Chris Coghlan, so he starts at third base and Kris Bryant shifts to left field. Bryant started just four games in left field all season, compared to 136 starts at third base. Also of note: After batting Addison Russell ninth–behind the pitcher–116 times this season Maddon has him in the more traditional eighth spot tonight.

RF Gregory Polanco
3B Josh Harrison
CF Andrew McCutchen
LF Starling Marte
C Francisco Cervelli
2B Neil Walker
SS Jordy Mercer
1B Sean Rodriguez
SP Gerrit Cole

Pedro Alvarez started 119 games at first base for the Pirates and with right-hander Jake Arrieta on the mound he was the presumed starter tonight, but instead manager Clint Hurdle has benched the 27-homer slugger in favor of utility man Sean Rodriguez. Alvarez is vastly superior to Rodriguez offensively, especially versus a righty, but he’s also very shaky defensively. During the regular season Rodriguez started a grand total of one game at first base against a right-hander, so this qualifies as a hunch by Hurdle.

The Cardinals are optimistic about Yadier Molina’s status

St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina celebrates as he arrives home after hitting a solo home run during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Monday, Aug. 17, 2015, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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Jenifer Langosch of reports that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina‘s bum thumb responded well after participating in baseball activities Tuesday, including catching, hitting, blocking balls and the like.

This morning Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said that he’s now even more optimistic that Molina will be on the NLDS roster. The Cards’ first game will be Friday against the winner of tonight’s Cubs-Pirates tilt.

Having Molina would obviously be a boon for the Cardinals on the field. For a look at what Molina means to the Cardinals off the field, however, take some time to go read Derrick Goold’s excellent story about what Molina’s teammates think of him. Short version: the world. It’s worth your time, even if you’re not a citizen of Cardinals Nation.