Kevin Slowey

Twins place Scott Baker on disabled list, let Kevin Slowey out of doghouse

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Kevin Slowey has been in the Twins’ doghouse all season because he didn’t take well to becoming a reliever when demoted from the rotation during spring training, but after spending several months in the minors he’s back in Minnesota to replace the injured Scott Baker.

As expected, Baker was placed on the disabled list with ongoing elbow problems. Initially the Twins indicated that Anthony Swarzak would get the nod if a rotation replacement was needed, but instead they called up Slowey. His first start will come Sunday against the Indians.

I’ve criticized the Twins’ handling of Slowey, from choosing Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing over him for rotation spots to tearing him down through the media when he reacted poorly to the prospect of becoming a reliever after four successful seasons as a starter. With that said, it’s good to see them finally giving him another chance. For whatever faults Slowey has and however much blame he deserves for the negative situation, he’s a 27-year-old with a 4.42 ERA as a starter and the Twins can use the help.

Slowey was one of the Twins’ five best starters back in March and he’s one of the Twins’ five best starters now. Of course, if he pitches well in place of Baker the Twins would surely listen to trade offers on Slowey.

Report: Mark Trumbo signs three-year, $37.5 million contract with Orioles

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Mark Trumbo #45 of the Baltimore Orioles runs the bases after hitting a two-run home run in the fourth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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Update #2 (6:21 PM EST): Make that $37.5 million, per Heyman.

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Update (6:02 PM EST): The deal is for “around” $37 million with deferrals that lower the present-day value, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that free agent 1B/OF Mark Trumbo is close to a deal with the Orioles. He first reported that the two sides were back in touch earlier on Thursday afternoon. According to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, the deal is expected to be for three years and under $40 million.

Trumbo’s market hasn’t developed as he expected. The slugger turned down the Orioles’ $17.2 million qualifying offer back in November. Then the Orioles reportedly made a four-year contract offer to him in December but pulled it off the table. Most recently, a report indicated that Trumbo lowered his expectations to a three-year deal in the $40-50 million range.

Trumbo, 31, led the majors with 47 homers for the Orioles this past season. He also hit a solid .256/.316/.433 with 108 RBI in 667 plate appearances. With Trumbo back in the fold and some slight offensive upgrades made, the Orioles figure to have a formidable offense in 2017.

Astros avoid arbitration with Mike Fiers

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Starting pitcher Mike Fiers #54 of the Houston Astros walks to the dugout after pitching an inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field on September 17, 2016 in Seattle, Washington. The Astros won the game 2-1. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
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The Astros avoided arbitration with pitcher Mike Fiers, agreeing on a $3.45 million salary for the 2017 season, per Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle. The right-hander was in his first of three years of arbitration eligibility.

Fiers, 31, made 30 starts and one relief appearance for the Astros in 2016. He finished the year with a 4.48 ERA and a 134/42 K/BB ratio in 168 2/3 innings.

Fiers had a much better showing in 2015 as well as in limited action in 2014, so the Astros are hoping he rediscovers that effectiveness going forward. He’ll slot into the back of the starting rotation.