It’s been announced just a little while ago that Kevin Slowey has been traded from the Colorado Rockies to the Cleveland Indians. In return, the Rockies will be getting relief prospect Zach Putnam.
At first glance, Twins fans should be frustrated with this trade. After berating Slowey constantly, both publicly and likely privately as well, they shipped him off to Colorado for sidearming reliever Daniel Turpen. The reason I say fans should be frustrated is because the Rockies took a player with moderate value (Turpen) and eventually ended up with Putnam, a good relief prospect. Turpen repeated Double-A last year (though his first time at Double-A in the Rockies organization) and he put up a 4.98 ERA with more walks than strikeouts. Meanwhile, Putnam had a September call-up with the Indians last year, and although his 6.14 ERA wasn’t pretty, he didn’t walk a single batter in 7.1 innings while striking out nine. He did well in Triple-A, tallying a 3.65 ERA with 8.87 K/9 and 3.00 BB/9 in 69 innings.
If you remember from last week, I talked about how waiting in free agency could help drive a player’s price down. Well, I think the Rockies benefited from a similar phenomenon here. When they acquired Slowey, they didn’t necessarily need him. They had coveted him for a while, and they finally got him when they felt the asking price for him was low enough to swing a deal. Meanwhile, the Indians were more desperate. After learning that Fausto Carmona had lied about his identity, they needed a pitcher immediately. Since their demand was higher, the price for acquiring Slowey was higher as well. Hence, likely why the Twins were only able to get Daniel Turpen but the Rockies were able to get Zach Putnam.
Update: Apparently the Rockies are sending $1.25 million to the Indians, which means Cleveland only has to pay $1.5 million of Slowey’s 2012 salary. Yep, chipping in some cash will get you a better return as well.
While it’s probably frustrating for Slowey to be traded twice in one offseason, at least he’s moving on to a place that’s better suited for his style of pitching. Being an extreme flyball pitcher, getting traded to the Rockies had to feel like cruel and unusual punishment (we await to see if this becomes true with new Rockies pitcher Guillermo Moscoso). Going from Coors Field to Progressive Field means that Slowey will be in a more homer-neutral ballpark than before, although the Indians field did have a home run park factor that ranked in the top half of the major leagues last year. Plus, now he’ll be able to stick it to the man – er, the Twins – as he so pleases.
Unless Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham have anything to say about it, that is.