Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors started it off in his chat Wednesday and it's been brought up in blogs galore since: how's a Kevin Slowey for Joel Hanrahan trade sound? The Twins are looking for a power reliever and the Bucs for a rotation stabilizer; they fit the bill.
Well, it makes some sense; Slowey would firm up the back end of the order, making the Morton/Olsen battle moot, providing insurance if Kevin Correia doesn't come around, and probably could step into the Paul Maholm spot if he gets moved. Hanny is future trade bait anyway, with Evan Meek the closer-in-waiting.
Slowey has a $2.7M contract in place for 2011 and two years of arbitration remaining after that, so team control and affordability (compared to Maholm, anyway) isn't an issue. The Upper St. Clair homey is 39-21 over four seasons in the show, with a 4.41 ERA in 473-1/3 frames and a WHIP of 1.282.
He's a fastball (90MPH) pitcher who gets a lot of fly balls (51%), a double edged sword in Pittsburgh - the OF is a surer bet to catch a ball than the IF, but a lefty-loaded line up makes the Clemente Wall a potential problem area, as his career average of 1.4 HR/9 innings is already on the high side, especially with a home field known as a pitcher's park.
The question is most likely Hanny's perceived value. He was lights-out as a set-up man last year, but not so as a closer. Hanrahan has two years of arbitration left, so there's no urgency to move him this early in the season, one in which the Pirates hope he can establish some value as a closer.
The timing of a Hanrahan deal will be based on him being at optimal value; is it now or do they roll the dice on pumping up his market cred for a deadline trade, when GMs typically overpay?
Hey, at least it's something to talk about while the spring games roll endlessly on. Throw another log on that hot stove.