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.