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Updated: December 6th, 2011 9:55am
Kevin Slowey dealt to Rockies for player to be named

Kevin Slowey dealt to Rockies for player to be named

by Phil Mackey
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DALLAS -- This one comes as no surprise.

The Minnesota Twins have traded Kevin Slowey to the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named, effectively ending a relationship that turned sour in 2011 when Slowey bristled at the notion of moving to the bullpen.

"(He was) 0-8 with a six-something ERA," general manager Terry Ryan said Monday. "He had a difficult year, but so did most."

When asked if he thought Slowey, 27, could be a productive starting pitcher in the future, Ryan said, "I would say yes. ...

"All you have to do is look at 2010. What did he do in 2010? How many games did he win? You can slice and dice those statistics any way you want, you're looking for guys who win games. A starting pitcher's job is probably, first and foremost, to win games. A guy wins 15, 20 games in the major leagues, you say, 'Geez, I don't know how he did it but he's got 'em.' OK."

Slowey was eligible for salary arbitration this winter, and the Twins had to decide by Dec. 12 whether to tender him a contract. Had the Twins tendered, Slowey likely would have earned around $3 million in 2012. Had they non-tendered, Slowey would have become a free agent.

Aside from philosophical differences about his role, the Twins' biggest issue with Slowey as a pitcher was his lack of durability over the past few years. Slowey hasn't pitched more than 160 1/3 innings in a season since 2007 when he went 200 2/3 innings between Triple-A and the major leagues.

Slowey also owns career ERAs of 6.03 and 6.38 in the fifth and sixth innings (77 2/3 and 60 2/3 innings, respectively), which heavily influences his career 4.66 mark overall.

In 532 2/3 career major league innings, Slowey's 48% fly-ball rate ranks third-highest among qualified starters over that time period -- a trait that fit much better in Target Field than it will at Coors Field in Colorado. reported on Monday that the Twins have showed interest in Rockies' outfielder Seth Smith, who owns a career batting line of .275/.348/.485 with 51 home runs in 1,449 plate appearances. Those numbers dip away from Coors Field, however -- .257/.332/.419.

That said, it's likely the player to be named will be a non-40-man roster player, because the Twins' roster is at 39 with Matt Capps, and they are likely to need that open roster spot for Thursday's Rule-5 Draft. The Twins have the No. 2 overall pick.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Matt Capps, Kevin Slowey