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.
The Royals honored former pitcher Yordano Ventura prior to their first Cactus League game against the Rangers on Saturday. Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in late January.
Rangers’ third baseman Adrian Beltre and center fielder Carlos Gomez paid their respects to the pitcher with a floral arrangement that was laid on the mound. Both teams stood along the foul lines during a pregame video tribute that highlighted Ventura’s tenure with Kansas City. Following the game, Gomez spoke to the media about his relationship with Ventura, describing their frequent conversations during the season and commending the pitcher for having “the same passion that I had early in my career” (via WFAA.com’s Levi Weaver).
A plaque dedicated to the 25-year-old was also presented to club manager Ned Yost as a more permanent commemoration of Ventura’s contributions to the sport. Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star reports that the plaque will be mounted in the club’s spring training facilities alongside tributes to members of the Royals’ 2014 and 2015 playoff teams.
The full text of the plaque is below, via MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
A brother and a teammate, Yordano Ventura, passed away on the morning of January 22 in his native Dominican Republic, at the age of 25. He signed with the Royals as a 17-year-old, eventually making the big league team in 2013 as a 22-year-old. On most days, he could be found laughing and joking with his baseball family in the clubhouse. However, on days when he pitched, that smile was replaced by a quiet confidence and an intense fire, which he brought to the mound for every start. He had many highlights in his abbreviated career, not the least of which was throwing eight shutout innings in Game #6 of the 2014 World Series to force a Game #7 vs. San Francisco.
Right-hander Gerrit Cole is set to take the mound for the Pirates on Opening Day, according to a team announcement on Saturday. It’s a spot that was most recently occupied by former Pirate Francisco Liriano, who made three consecutive Opening Day starts for the club before getting dealt to the Blue Jays last August.
The 26-year-old produced career-worst numbers during his fourth run with the Pirates in 2016, due in large part to bouts of inflammation in his right elbow. He finished the year with a 3.88 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 116 innings before getting shut down in September to avoid further injury to his elbow. When healthy, however, Cole has been lights-out for the Pirates. Prior to his injury-laden campaign last year, he touted a career 3.07 ERA, 2.2 BB/9, 8.5 SO/9 and cumulative 10.2 fWAR from 2013 through 2015.
Cole will go toe-to-toe with the Red Sox during Boston’s home opener on Monday, April 3. Right-hander Jameson Taillon is scheduled to make the second start of the year, while fellow righty Ivan Nova will cover the Pirates’ home opener against the Braves on April 7. The Pirates’ third and fifth starters have yet to be announced.