Other than noting the unfortunate nature of the whole story, I don’t have much to say about the pitcher formerly known as Fausto. From what I can gather, it sounds like he’s not going to make it to Spring Training. Which, I believe, means he’ll be put on the “restricted” list, a form of MLB purgatory wherein you do not receive a paycheck. It’s mostly a sad story, and one I don’t enjoying dwelling on all that much.
But that doesn’t mean that the Indians don’t have to move forward, and that’s what they did by acquiring Kevin Slowey from the Colorado Rockies for Zach Putnam (and cash to offset Slowey’s $2.75 million salary). Before we get into what we might expect from Slowey, we would be remiss not to notice that the Rockies’ GM Dan O’Dowd used to work in the Indians’ front office and in the last eight months has acquired five of the Indians farmhands. That’s probably a coincidence (he’s been the Rockies’ GM since 1999), but it’s still interesting that Chris Antonetti seems to have built a rapport with O’Dowd.
Anyway, back to Slowey. At first glance, you’d be hard pressed to come up with a pitcher less apt to compare to Fausto. Slowey is listed at 205 lbs., but he looks rail thin to me. Never in his career has his fastball averaged over 90mph. He limits walks. He throws flyballs. If there were an anti-Fausto, Slowey is probably it.
Actually, the more I think about it perhaps the Indians already have an anti-Fausto: Josh Tomlin. A pitcher with fairly low strikeout and walk numbers who throws flyballs and struggles with home runs. I think that’s probably about as close to a Slowey-comp as I can get. Let’s look at a quick comparison of their respective careers:
They’re not exactly the same guy: Slowey strikes out considerably more guys than Tomlin (which is good) and is more flyball- and homer-prone (which is bad), but I think the comparison holds up fairly well. Both guys will be as successful as their walk-rate and HR-rate allow. They will both give up lots of hits. So long as they’re healthy, they’re completely satisfactory middle-to-back-of-the-rotation type guys.
And that’s the rub with Slowey, really. He’s never thrown more than 160 innings in a season. Last year he pitched only 59.1 MLB innings due to injuries to his abdomen and shoulder. His acquisition in no way solidifies the rotation. He might be healthy enough to compete and win a spot in Spring Training. He might not.
I tend to like this acquisition, both because we need to add to the starting pitching pile and because we have some strength with bullpen arms right now. Putnam didn’t wow me in his eight appearances last season, and 25 year old RHP bullpen arms do kinda grow on trees.
But we’d be foolish to believe that we can just replace Fausto’s name with Slowey’s for those 180 innings we were counting on. Slowey’s not likely to be that durable, even if he is ready for Spring Training.
Whether Fauberto will be ready for Spring? That, as they say, is whole ‘nuther story.