In the first bona fide Twins trade rumor we've heard since it came out that they may think about adding bullpen help, Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies have been calling about Minnesota's starters. We've heard that the Twins weren't into selling since they've been playing better, but here's the first solid example we've seen.
"The Rockies have talked to Minnesota about its stable of pitchers — Francisco Liriano,Kevin Slowey and Scott Baker — but the Twins are reluctant to make a trade until it becomes clear that they're out of the race."
There are a few interesting things to note in that sentence. One is that Carl Pavano wasn't listed, but the other is that the Rockies apparently have interest in Slowey.
More on this after the jump.
Slowey has been much maligned, whether you think it's legitimate or not, and there certainly hasn't been any sense of urgency in getting him back to Minnesota. But there is some upside there, and apparently it's enough to interest Colorado.
Nick Nelson was quick to tweet a hypothetical question.
Slowey's taken a quick fall from grace this season, but Ian Stewart, who is listed in the article as one of the players the Rockies may deal, has been falling for a while. And he's only 26.
#9 / Third Base / Colorado Rockies
Apr 05, 1985
|2011 - Ian Stewart||23||54||5||4||2||0||0||1||6||20||1||1||.074||.167||.111|
Stewart was a love child of Baseball America for years. From pre-2004 to pre-2008, BA ranked him between the #4 and #57 prospect in all of baseball. A lot of that had to do with his offense, mashing extra-base hits and showing good patience at the plate, posting OPS marks of .959, .992, .849, .803, .857 and .979 from '03 through '08 in the minors.
He had a cup of coffee with the Rockies in '07, but played 81 games with the big league club the following season and hit .259/.349/.455 along the way. He hit 25 homers the next year, in 2008, but the OPS dropped to an okay but somewhat disappointing .785. He held serve last season, but this year saw him really struggle. The line above is the result. Somewhere along the way, Stewart got lost.
Sent back to triple-A at age-26, his first stint back since '08, he's showing that he's still capable of smashing the baseball. In 44 games he's batting .269/.356/.581 with 14 home runs and 22 walks versus 49 strikeouts.
Both Stewart and Slowey could easily be seen as good players who need a change of scenery. Some time with new people, new coaches, getting a new start that may breath some life back into what should be promising Major League careers.
Should Nick's hypothetical come to pass, if the Twins would choose to bring up Stewart it would likely be in a utility role to start. He's capable of playing third or second base, so would be able to give Danny Valencia and Alexi Casilla their blows. No doubt they'd also try him at first and corner outfield spots. He's almost like Luke Hughes, with real power. He's also in just his first year of arbitration, meaning he's likely to be affordable until he hits free agency after the 2014 season (Stewart will go through arbitration four times).
If I'm Bill Smith, and the Rockies called me about a straight-up swap for Slowey and Stewart, I'd pull the trigger. How about you?