With the recent news that the Twins might be trying to deal Kevin Slowey, I thought I might try my hand at trying to figure out who they might be able to get for the 26-year-old right-hander. I personally think the Twins should hang onto Slowey, especially since he's under team control through 2013 and I also question the wisdom of trading a young-ish starting pitcher for bullpen help, but because the Twins could use some better bullpen options, and because they have a definite surplus of rotation arms, I'm open to the idea.
The team with the most public interest in Slowey has been the Toronto Blue Jays. Joe Christensen reported yesterday that the Jays had 3 scouts watching Slowey and that they feel they have a surplus of relievers, some of whom might interest the Twins. In looking at the list of Blue Jay relievers, nothing impressive stands out, but I'll let you decide for yourself.
I think we can safety rule out getting Jon Rauch in a trade. Frank Francisco can probably be ruled out as well due to his $4M price tag this season. Dotel would be about right money-wise, but he has struggled mightily the past few seasons and is 37 years old. Frasor is definitely worth taking a look at and the Twins have been reported to have been interested in Frasor in the past. Shawn Camp would struggle to beat out relievers the Twins already have, as would Casey Janssen. Villaneuva would be a decent cheap option but Roenicke is not appealing at all.
Frasor has been a picture of durability over the course of his 7 year career. He has pitched in at least 49 games in every season since 2004 and has averaged almost 59 appearances per year over that time. He has a tasty 0.8 HR/9 mark for his career to go along with a career 8.4 K/9 rate. His $3.5M price tag is a bit on the high side, but he would fit in nicely in the Twins 'pen. He's tough on both righties and lefties, holding RHBs to a .649 OPS and LHBs to a .696 OPS for his career. Frason and prospect or two would be a decent get in return for Slowey.
This is definitely the cheap option as Villanueva is only slated to make $1.415M this year. The Jays traded for him in the off-season, so that may impact their willingness to trade him away. Villanueva would likely come with a prospect or two as well, so that's definitely something to keep in mind. Villanueva had an interesting year last year as he saw his K/9 rate jump to a career-high of 11.45 which was very uncharacteristic for a guy who sat solidly in the high 7s for most of his career up to this point. As far as whether he's a ground-ball or fly-ball pitcher, he's kinda right in the middle holding a 1.01 GB/FB ratio for his career. He seems like an interesting option, though I'm not sold on his K-rate staying above 10. If the Twins dealt for Villanueva, I'd be more interested in which prospects they received.
Other teams speculated to have interest in Slowey include the Cardinals and Yankees, but I'm not seeing much reported interest from either team. There have been conflicting reports from the Cardinals, some saying they will look internally to fill the void left by Wainwright's injury, others saying they will look externally. Whatever they decide to do, I think it will be a couple of weeks until they make a decision to look outside the organization and by then, Slowey may have been traded already. As far as the Yankees go, I just can't see them being terribly interested in Slowey, especially considering how impressive some of their young guns have been in Spring Training so far. I see the Yankees waiting till mid-season to acquire a pitcher over trying to get Slowey now. The Yankees are looking to a make a splash, and acquiring Slowey would be more of a splat, at least in the eyes of the media and various Yankee blogs. In fact, Mike Axisa over at River Ave Blues wrote about this very topic the other day. Should be interesting to see what happens in these last 3 weeks of Spring Training, 7 starters, 5 slots. I'm in denial that Blackburn is a sure thing for the rotation.