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.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.