Kevin Slowey and the Twins are moving toward a trade

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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.

Report: Twins sign Erick Aybar to minor-league deal

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The Twins have reportedly signed free agent shortstop Erick Aybar to a minor-league deal, LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reported Friday. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman adds that the deal comes with a potential $1.25 million if Aybar reaches the majors, with additional incentives based on plate appearances. He’ll be able to opt out on March 27. The team has yet to confirm the signing.

Aybar, 34, is now four years removed from his career year in 2014. He’s been in a state of steady decline since then, slashing just .234/.300/.348 with seven home runs and 11 stolen bases over 370 plate appearances for the Padres in 2017. His poor performance wasn’t helped by a fractured left foot, either, which cost him almost six weeks on the disabled list.

Still, the Twins see something promising in the veteran infielder, and reportedly intend to use him as another utility option this spring. Per Neal, Aybar will join fellow backup infielders Eduardo Escobar and Ehire Adrianza and may even (temporarily) take over for Miguel Sano at third base if Sano isn’t able to shape up for the role by Opening Day.