UPDATE: Now that the Rule 5 draft is over the player to be named later has been revealed as Double-A right-hander Daniel Turpen, a side-arming reliever who’s a marginal prospect at best.
Kevin Slowey, who fell out of favor in Minnesota after being demoted from the rotation to the bullpen in spring training, has been traded to Colorado for a player to be named later.
Thomas Harding of MLB.com reports that the deal will become official later today.
Slowey was a solid mid-rotation starter for the Twins from 2007-2010, throwing 473 innings with a 4.41 ERA, but he was perhaps unfairly dumped from the rotation in favor of weaker options and then balked at becoming a full-time reliever.
Minnesota has been shopping him since March, so the player to be named later figures to be of minimal value. Slowey is under team control for two more seasons and will likely be in line for around $3 million via the arbitration process despite spending most of the season on the disabled list or in the minors and going 0-8 with a 6.67 ERA in 59 innings for the Twins.
When healthy and happy in his role Slowey is very capable of throwing 175 innings with a four-something ERA and excellent strikeout-to-walk ratios, but as an extreme fly-ball pitcher without overpowering raw stuff Coors Field is probably the worst possible home for him.
James Paxton of the Mariners is 3-0 with a 1.39 ERA, 39 strikeouts and only six walks in 32.1 innings of work over five starts. Last night he shut the Tigers down, tossing seven shutout innings, striking out nine and allowing only four hits. With Felix Hernandez looking less than king-like lately, Paxton is asserting himself as the new ace of the Seattle staff.
And now the tall Canadian native has a nickname to match his ace-like status:
“Pax was really outstanding and we certainly needed it,” manager Scott Servais said of the Canadian southpaw. “Big Maple is what he was nicknamed tonight and I kind of like that. He was awesome.”
“Big Maple” is a fantastic nickname. That’s the sort of nickname guys used to get back when nicknames were great. Before managers just put “y” at the end of dudes’ names and before the “First Initial-First Three Letters of The Last Name” convention took hold in the wake of A-Rod.
“Big Maple.” That makes me smile. I’m gonna be smiling all dang day because of that.
I mentioned this in the recaps this morning, but I think it deserves it’s own special place. Get what went down in the second inning of last night’s Rays-O’s game:
Ryan Flaherty was on first with Seth Smith up to bat. Smith hit a single to center. Flaherty, who was running with the pitch, was making for third base. All-world defender Kevin Kiermaier tried to gun him down but threw wildly to third, causing Flaherty to break for home.
Pitcher Alex Cobb had the play backed up, however! He got the ball near the dugout. Flaherty scampered back to third and Cobb tried to throw him out. The ball hit Flaherty’s helmet, richocheting into left field, allowing both Flaherty and Smith — who had stopped at first and then stopped at second, like a kid at tee ball or something — to come around and score.
I still think the Rays walking home the winning run on four pitches in the 11th inning was worse, but this looked worse.
Oh well: the Rays get the day off today and tomorrow, of course, is another day.