One Down, Two To Go: Twins Avoid Arbitration With Slowey


The Twins signed Kevin Slowey to a one year, $2.7 million deal.  They have not yet agreed to terms with Francisco Liriano or Delmon Young, though it appears that the front office might be interested in signing them to multi-year deals.  Liriano in particular has two more years of service time, and if he continues to perform like he did last year, could get very expensive in arbitration.  The Twins might be a little more hesitant to sign Young to a multi-year deal, considering that he’s only had one good season since his debut in 2007.  However, he does add some right-handed power to a lefty-heavy lineup and, like Liriano, he could also get very expensive if he continues to produce like he did in 2010.  

There was some talk that the Twins might trade one of their young starters to clear some payroll space.  Re-signing Carl Pavano appears to have given the team an embarrassment of riches in the starting rotation, with someone likely to move to the bullpen.  According to Joe Christensen, the Pavano deal pushed the team over its budget and required special approval from CEO Jim Pohlad.  It is possible that the Pohlads may have agreed to a more permanent increase in payroll for the 2011 season, but they have never done such a thing before.  Ownership has hisorically been very conservative when it comes to payroll, so it seems likely that they have given the front office a specific time frame in which they must get under budget.  Dealing one of their young starters appears to be the most logical way to do this, though it doesn’t appear any of them have much in the way of trade value.  Slowey has a lot of promise, but he’s coming off of a disappointing, injury-plagued 2010 in which he posted an ERA of 4.45.  The same goes for Nick Blackburn and Scott Baker, who are owed a combined $27 million over the next two years.  Really, the only starter who has any sort of trade value is Brian Duensing, who posted an ERA of 2.62 between the rotation and the bullpen, but he will make little more than league-minimum next year, so trading him won’t bring much salary relief.  It would probably be ideal at this point, with the bullpen as thin as it is, to simply hang on to all of their young pitchers.  Whether the Pohlads will agree remains to be seen.