The Minnesota Twins were willing to trade Kevin Slowey this spring, after it became apparent that he wouldn’t be named their No. 5 starter.
Perhaps he could find himself on the trade market again, once his stint on the disabled list is up. Slowey, a right-hander, hasn’t pitched since April 4 because of bursitis in his throwing shoulder.
“We do not expect this to be a long DL stay,” Twins general manager Bill Smith said in an email. “We will look at his progress over the next week and then zero in on a more formal timetable.”
During spring training, the Twins tried to trade Slowey for an established late-inning reliever, to pitch before Joe Nathan and Matt Capps at the end of games. When that didn’t happen, the team decided to put Slowey in the Opening Day bullpen.
But Slowey is smaller in stature than most right-handed pitchers, and it’s possible that his body can’t handle the rigors of pitching on consecutive days. The Twins used him three times in four days early in the season before he came down with bursitis.
Slowey, though, should have value to other teams whose starters have suffered through injuries or underperformance since the season began. He did, after all, go 13-6 with a 4.45 ERA in the American League last year. (He is earning $2.7 million this season.)
Meanwhile, the Twins’ trade needs could shift by the time Slowey is ready to pitch — if they haven’t already. Their middle infield has not come together as planned, with second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka on the disabled list and shortstop Alexi Casilla batting .143.
It’s also possible that new teams could enter the market for starting pitching. The Boston Red Sox, widely viewed as the World Series favorite, entered Wednesday with the worst rotation ERA in the major leagues.
At the moment, the Twins have five healthy starters, although Francisco Liriano and Scott Baker are off to slow starts. If the Twins don’t need Slowey in the rotation once he is ready to pitch again, the Twins will be faced with an intriguing decision — bring him back as a reliever, a role for which he might be ill-suited, or send him on a minor-league rehabilitation assignment as a starter, so other teams can scout him for the purposes of a trade.
— Jon Paul Morosi