Kevin Slowey or Jason Marquis

23 Dec

Since the salaries are more or less the same, I look at it is a trade.

The Twins received a proven mediocre starter in Jason Marquis, who, up until an injury in 2010 (and a freak comebacker in 2011), had been extremely durable.  Plus they got an upside challenged prospect.  We could call him the infamous PTBNL.

The Twins gave up a younger, mediocre, seemingly injury prone starter in Kevin Slowey.  His career high in innings pitched is just 160 1/3, and that was 4 years ago.  There could still be some projection left in Slowey, but he’ll also be 28 in May.  As his solid 2008 season gets smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror, it is certainly feasible that we may have already seen Slowey’s best.

They are very comparable in innings per start over their careers.  Marquis has averaged 5.95 innings per start while Slowey has averaged 5.66.

Here’s where I see this being a solid move for the Twins.  For 2012, which pitcher would you rather count on for 150-175 roughly league average innings spread over 30 starts?  I’d go with Marquis.

At the end of the day, switching out reasonably interchangeable pieces like Marquis and Slowey is a pretty lateral move.  It’s certainly nothing to get excited about in either direction.  I like the added stability that Marquis hopefully brings to the back of the rotation.

What is most disconcerting is the mediocrity of the rotation behind Liriano and Baker, who each come with their own set of concerns to boot.  This is a very flawed rotation as it stands, and the Twins may simply be out of money to address it.

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20 Responses to “Kevin Slowey or Jason Marquis”

  1. TT December 23, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    “the mediocrity of the rotation behind Liriano and Baker, who each come with their own set of concerns to boot. This is a very flawed rotation as it stands”

    It is plain ludicrous to suggest that Liriano is not one of this rotation’s “flaws”. He was arguably the worst starter on the Twins last year.

    Moroever Pavano is clearly the staff leader. He is NOT a mediocre starter. He lead the league in hits given up, but he was also one of the leagues leaders in getting people out. Is he an “ace”? No. But if the Twins had five guys who pitched like him, they would have one of the better pitching staffs.

    This staff looks remarkably like the rotation that took the Twins to the playoffs two years ago. Its not going to be a team strength, but it won’t keep the Twins out of the playoffs either.

  2. mini_tb December 23, 2011 at 11:46 am #

    I called the entire rotation flawed. Liriano is a part of that rotation. Therefore he is flawed.

  3. Alex December 23, 2011 at 12:10 pm #

    Good analysis. Thanks, Seth. One thing that confuses me is where you say that the Twins may be “out of money”. It sounds to me like they’re making money hand-over-fist over at Target center. They’re hardly out of money. The question is are they willing to potentially mortgage their future on a big trade (established starter for young player(s)) or else pony up for a bigger-type name on the market, like Roy Oswalt. What do you think?

    • Seth December 23, 2011 at 12:49 pm #

      The Great ‘Mini_TB’ wrote this one. he gets all credit!! I wish he would blog more often.

      By the way mini_tb, wanna do lunch today?

      Also, I’m sure the Twins are doing well at Target Field. But their TV and radio deals are tiny and that’s where a ton of revenue comes from. I am certain that they are spending the 48-49% of revenues that makes sense. That other 51-52% goes to paying non-playing employees at games and well, everything else that a business has to ppay in a year.

      I don’t want “biggger-typ names” – For instance, Roy Oswalt. He’s a big name, but so many Twins fans are clamorning for a strikeout pitcher. What was Oswalt’s K-Rate last year? 6 per 9! So, I’m comfortable with what they’re doing.

      • Disillusioned in Duluth December 23, 2011 at 1:05 pm #

        But Seth, the Twins’ TV and radio deals are the same they were last year when they had a $115m payroll – these are long-term deals. The value of which, by the way, the Twins do not make public – are we sure it’s “tiny” like the Twins would like us to believe, or is it perhaps not so tiny? The Angels have some of the worst TV ratings in the league but they got a $150mil/year deal because advertisers love that baseball can’t be “DVR” or “OnDemand” and you can’t skip through commercials.

        The majority of their revenue comes from season ticket sales and the Target Field gate. 85% renewal on season tix, plus a waiting list. There’s no justification for cutting payroll other than to make more profit.

        I don’t want to bemoan the point, but it’s pretty disturbing that in Year 3 we’re already back to our cheap Dome days – not for revenue reasons but simply because our owner want more money. When is enough enough?

      • DH in Philly December 23, 2011 at 1:13 pm #

        Yikes! I always thought that mini.tb was a she and have been addressing him/her accordingly. Many apologies mini

      • Greg December 28, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

        I’m OK with the $100M – we have no idea what this team can do right now. Will we get the Aug/Sep team from last year that stunk up the field, or the Jun-Jul team that was among the best? The Aug/Sep is probably more likely, since it was also the Apr-May team. By not spending now, there is likely to be more flexibility later. If the team is in the race as is, then maybe they can add a piece or two. If they tank, then a piece or two now would probably be a waste of money.

  4. Josh December 23, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

    I actually think it’s a pretty easy call, Marquis over Slowey. Marquis has proven many times over his career that he can eat up innings (3 times over 200 IP, 2 more times over 190 IP), something Slowey just isn’t capable of doing. I’d much rather have the guy who tried to go out and pitch with a broken leg than the guy who can’t get through the 5th inning.

    The cost is the same, it’s a 1 year deal (giving flexibility for next season) and the guy’s not a headcase. Slowey was enough of one that the coaching staff got the entire Twins media to start crushing the guy. Slowey needed a new start (and landing in Colorado may bring him to a rapid exit) and Marquis fills his slot well, assuming the D can hold up behind him.

    The front of the rotation is a bigger concern; Liriano has the ability, but hasn’t put it together after the injury and has problems staying healthy. Baker can’t seem to get through a full season as a 200 inning guy either. Pavano eats up innings and will keep you in the game, but doesn’t dominate. Blackburn is a 3-4 guy at best. Marquis helps the rotation eat up innings, and considering who else was out there, that may be the best we could hope for…

  5. thrylos98 December 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm #

    The problem is that Marquis and Slowey are not “reasonably interchangeable pieces”.

    They are about as far different as you get. Marquis is a ground ball pitcher, Slowey is a fly ball pitcher. Marquis has less than league average command and conrol, Slowey has been on the top 3 of MLB since he started pitching. Marquis is in his decline while Slowey has just starting to enter his prime. Taking one bad season from Slowey (caused by injuries, mis-handling of these injuries and mind games by Gardenhire – see ST re: starter ‘competition’ and assingning him to a role for which was not ready in spring) does not make much sense.

    Hope that Marquis miraculously is successful for the Twins, but…

  6. darin December 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm #

    My solution would have been don’t sign Marquis ($3 million) trade Blackburn($4.25 million) make a deal with the Yankees for A J Burnett. They have already said New York would pay $8 million of the remaining 2 yr $33 million. That would mean you could probably get them to up that to 10-12 million with some good prospects involved. Then have Liam Hendriks the 5th starter. I would rather pay $11 million for Burnett and Hendriks than $7.25 for what we got with our combo. It could possibly be a Pavano part 2 recovery for Burnett to get out of New York.

  7. Chad December 23, 2011 at 5:14 pm #

    Well written Seth,

    The only thing i would argue is the part that there out of money to address the situation it’s a self imposed limit you know as well as i do that they have the money to address some holes but just won’t do it

  8. peterb18 December 23, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

    “This is a very flawed rotation as it stands, and the Twins may simply be out of money to address it”.
    I can remember on this blog a few years ago when a few stated that in a couple of years the Pohlads would be cutting payroll. Cutting payroll with filled stadiums, tremendous sales at the park, interest at its peak,etc! This comes from the family that tried to contract this team–attempted to sell the team to group in North Carlina(Ibelieve). There is only one problem with this team, at this point, and that is ownership. And the ownership is the wealthiest in baseball. We had a triple AAA team for most of last summer, but did we pay triple AAA prices for tickets?
    I know that some may think this statement is unfair. But, why do most of the media and the major bloggers accept this attitude from the Pohlad family?

  9. Jim H December 23, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I am not particularly excited about any of the players added this year, but there is a pattern. Only Willingham is for 3 years. It is fairly clear that Ryan expects the farm system to be able to help, maybe as soon as this year at middle infield and starting pitcher. Even in the outfield if Plouffe or Tosoni or Benson proves themselves ready, there will be an opportunity for one of them to start.

    One thing Ryan is good at, is player evaluation. If he thinks there is help from the minors ready in the near term, he is probably going to be right. The way he is constructing the team for this year, it makes me think that guys like Dozier and Henricks will be able to help soon.

    • union1mc December 24, 2011 at 3:23 am #

      Apparently you and Terry missed all of last year. We have no impact talent in AAA to help other then maybe Benson. To me it’s obvious we’re back to the days of pinching pennies and just trying to “compete”, rather then fielding a team that could actually do something in the playoffs.

      • darin December 25, 2011 at 1:22 am #

        Exactly, pinching pennies while raking in cash like crazy. I would have to bet Carl Pohlad & Calvin Griffith would be proud how Carl’s boys are already cutting the budget after opening the new park 2 years ago. So does this mean the 2014 payroll will be $85 million?

  10. Jim H December 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm #

    I don’t know that you need impact talent. Cleveland had more “impact” talent then the Twins did throughtout the last decade but still had only one year where they made the playoffs. What you need is a bunch of good players to surround the impact talent that you do have. It is possible that Plouffe, Dozier, Henricks, Benson, and several others will be good players at the major league level. They are all near ready, and will play in the majors. The questions are: how soon and how good. Even the best talent evalulators generally are kind of guessing on the answers to that.

    Tom Kelly used to say that you needed a 1000 AB’s at the major league level to be sure of what had with a young prospect. That tends to be sort of true with most pitchers as well.

  11. Jim H December 24, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    We may be dealing with different definitions of “impact”. I consider Mauer, Morneau, Santana, and maybe Nathan as the only impact talent during the last decade. Hunter was close and a few other guys may of had impact years. Ortiz was after he left. Cleveland had Hafner, Martinez, Sizemore, Lee and Sabathia.

    The Twins farm system may produce some impact guys in a few years. There just isn’t that much impact talent in the major leagues. That is why guys that are, get such monster contracts when they become or can become free agents. It is also why guys like Hunter who isn’t an impact player and probably never was, can command the salary he does.

  12. Brad Beneke December 24, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    The one thing that you didn’t even hint at is that Slowey wore on people, and may have worn out his welcome with the team. Marquis is a quick worker who doesn’t shake off 9 out of every 10 pitches which in theory should keep the “hopefully” improved defense on its toes. Those little things can sometimes be big. Plus he’s not as likely to implode which will be a good effect on Baker and Liriano who while 1-2 talented, are 5 cents ahead of Ebby Calvin Laloosh.

    I’m also not fan of hearing how they are out of money. Its only ok if they are using 2012 to guage the health of Mauer and Morneau and are all in for 2013 if they are healthy. 2/3rds of a free stadium, 18 million a year in naming rights, a million dollars a game in concessions, 24,000 season tickets sold, radio money, local tv money, league money…

    They have cash from the team, and might I remind the Pohlads are also the richest owners in the league so if they signed Pujols it would be shocking, but if they decided to spend on a pitcher for 8-9 million a year who would be above mediocrity it wouldn’t be the end of the fiscal world. Raise the ad rates on B96 and bring in a Bullpen!

    Love your posts Seth. Thank you, and Merry Christmas

  13. Gotwins87 December 25, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    Seth. I guess I am on the island. I am optimistic about Jason. I am a season ticket holder for the Nationals and saw him pitch several times last year before going to Arizona. Assuming he is healthy, he will eat innings which the Twins desperately need from its starters. With a better defense, being a ground ball pitcher should not be a big a problem as it would have been last year. Also, a point lost in this conversation is that Kevin just didn’t want to be with the Twins. Jason does. Given the payroll limitations, I think Jason is a good pick up for the back end of the rotation.

  14. mike wants wins December 27, 2011 at 10:23 am #

    You set up a false choice here Seth. Another way to spend that money would have been to go with Manship or Hendriks or whatever for the league minimum, and to sign a couple of decent relievers. With Baker, Liriano and Blackburn(ugh) in the rotation, you need a bullpen. Will Marquis be that much better than Manship or Hendriks? Or would that money have been better spent on a couple of flyer/bullpen arms? That, to me anyway, is the question. But maybe I’m alone in that thought.

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