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The Slowey Saga

Posted by: Nick Nelson Updated: May 25, 2011 - 12:20 AM

It would appear that Kevin Slowey's days in Minnesota are numbered.

We can glean from the article linked above that the right-hander has asked for a trade. It hardly comes as a surprise; Slowey has sulked all season about his role in the bullpen, and there are no rotation vacancies on the visible horizon.

Clearly, the Twins are fed up with Slowey. He has rarely been available this season, overcome by a variety of ailments relating to the transition from starter to reliever. His act comes off as pouty and self-centered, leading to widespread criticism. Jim Souhan labeled him a "selfish, excuse-making malcontent" and the Twins broadcasters ripped him at length during Monday night's telecast.

Then again, Slowey also can't be blamed for wanting out. His behavior might seem selfish, but frankly it's not hard to understand what's brought him to this point. There has long been friction between player and organization.

I've repeatedly had reporters covering the team tell me that, like others who have been dealt away before him, Slowey's personality doesn't seem to mesh with the Twins' expectations. The team has done little to hide its lack of affinity.

While he had his inconsistencies last year in his return from a fairly significant wrist surgery, the righty still won 13 games and posted a 4.48 ERA. Yet, he was a healthy scratch from the Twins' playoff roster. I figured that was the last straw, predicting that he'd be traded during the offseason.

Turns out I jumped the gun. The Twins signed Carl Pavano for $16 million over the winter despite having five starters, and naturally Slowey was the odd man out despite posting a 1.69 ERA in spring training that was the best of any rotation candidate. And, even though they seemingly had their minds made up from the beginning, the Twins still conditioned Slowey as a starter right up until the end of March, then basically said, "Nice job starting the last few years, but we like some other guys better, now go and be a setup man because we let all the other ones walk during the offseason so we could sign your replacement."

At age 27 and now a full year removed from surgery, Slowey was looking to re-establish himself as a quality MLB starter this season. Instead, he's battling through injuries to try and throw long relief for baseball's worst club, and watching his earning potential plummet in the meantime.

Is Slowey putting himself before the team? Yes, but then again, it's a really bad team and an organization that hasn't exactly shown much fondness toward him.

He's a good pitcher who had an unfortunate wrist injury and never got his fair shake here. Assuming he's on his way out, I wish Slowey the best wherever he ends up. All I can do now is hope like hell that the Twins aren't shooting themselves in the foot by being forced to sell so low on him.

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