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.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.