Twins on the move: Slowey and Tolbert


A couple of players who spent 2011 with the Twins have moved on to different teams.

Kevin Slowey will not be reunited with Michael Cuddyer after all. Just six weeks after the Twins dealt Slowey to the Rockies, Colorado turned around and flipped him over to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for reliever Zach Putnam and a little spending cash. The Tribe are apparently looking at Slowey as a possible replacement for the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona. If Slowey does manage to win a spot in the Cleveland rotation, he’ll probably get at least two or three chances to pitch against his former team. That should make for some good viewing, partly because it’s always fun to see former players play against the Twins, and partly because there was some well-publicized animosity between Slowey and the Twins’ clubhouse.

Despite that, I’m a little irked by this trade for two reasons. First, I kind of wanted to see how well Slowey would do at Coors Field. Slowey is an extreme flyball pitcher, and Coors is a stadium where baseballs jump over the fence at an alarming rate. If Slowey pitched well there, that would prove he can pitch anywhere (which would make the Twins look bad). If he didn’t succeed, that could have created some potentially hideous stat lines (which would have made the Twins look good).

Second, I’m annoyed because the Rockies seem to have gotten a better deal for Slowey than the Twins did. On the surface, at least, Putnam looks like a better pitching prospect than Daniel Turpen, the guy the Rockies traded to the Twins. According to at least one scouting report, Putnam can throw consistently at 93, and his fastball can touch 96. He has also posted decent strikeout totals in the minors. Putnam had a 3.65 ERA and 8.9 K/9 last season at AAA. Turpen had a 4.83 ERA and just 5.0 K/9 at AA.

It isn’t the end of the world, and for all I know, Turpen may end up being a good pitcher in the Twins’ bullpen. But right now it looks like the Rockies turned a profit off of the Twins, and that irritates me. Maybe the Twins should have tendered a contract to Slowey and waited another month or two before trading him.

According to Twitter chatter, Matt Tolbert has found a new home as well. The switch-hitting infielder has signed with the Chicago Cubs. Tolbert hit just .198 last year, but I think his scrappy, energetic style of play will fit better in the National League. If there’s a position battle for the Cubs’ utility infield slot, Puckett’s Pond will be rooting for Tolbert the whole way.