Most of the talk about upgrading the Pirates' roster for the second half has been centered around the offense, which is close to the bottom of the National League in a number of major categories. It looks like the Bucs are also considering potential upgrades to the pitching staff, however, as John Paul Morosi of Fox Sports today reports the Pirates are among teams interested in the Twins' Kevin Slowey.
The Rockies and Pirates are among the teams showing continued interest in Slowey as he nears the conclusion of a minor-league rehabilitation assignment at Class AAA Rochester, major-league sources told FOXSports.com. Slowey has no record and a 2.45 ERA in two starts for Rochester, with his third outing set for Friday night in Buffalo.
Slowey, 27, is currently on the disabled list with an abdominal strain, but a source said he is healthy now. He also missed a month earlier this season because of bursitis in his throwing shoulder.
Slowey is an Upper St. Clair native, so adding another home town player to the roster would certainly be an intriguing story line. It's hard to see where Slowey fits in the Pirates plans right now, however. He has a 4.43 career ERA and posted a 4.91 mark with Minnesota last season. His strikeouts per nine innings are kind of low at 6.8 for the career, making him almost indistinguishable from the rest of the Pirates ground ball heavy starting staff and he failed to make the Twins rotation coming out of spring training.
With Ross Ohlendorf set to return in the near future, Brad Lincoln performing fairly well at AAA and all five guys in the Pirates rotation pitching well, there doesn't appear to be room for Slowey at the moment. Of course, there's the old saying "you can never have enough pitching," but adding a starting pitcher doesn't seem as urgent a need for the Bucs right now as adding bats, and you'd think trade resources would be better allocated toward obtaining them.
What we could be looking at here is an attempt by the Pirates front office to free up one or more of the team's current starters for a trade to go after a bat. Slowey probably couldn't crack the rotation at the moment, but he'd be an excellent insurance policy if, say, Paul Maholm were traded as part of a package for some offensive upgrades.