The Cleveland Indians and Colorado Rockies completed a trade today, swapping right-handed pitchers. It is the second trade between the two clubs in the last six months, following on the heels of last July’s trade involving Ubaldo Jimenez and a package of prospects heading to Colorado.
Going from the Rockies was right-hander Kevin Slowey. For Slowey, this is the second time he was traded just this off-season, having been flipped from the Twins to the Rockies in December for Daniel Turpen.
In 2011, Slowey was on the road back from injury with Minnesota and only appeared in 14 games (eight starts) and finished with an 0-8 record and 6.67 ERA. Prior to his injuries he had been a solid command and control righty with the ability to fit in the back of a big league rotation; role he could get back to in 2012.
From the Indians, Colorado receives right-handed pitching prospect Zach Putnam. The University of Michigan product appeared in seven games at the big league level in 2011 and finished with a 6.14 ERA, 10 hits allowed, no walks and nine strikeouts in 7.1 innings.
While in Triple-A last year Putnam posted a 3.65 ERA in 44 relief appearances. He allowed less than a hit per inning and struck out better than one per inning.
On a pure stuff level Putnam features a heavy low-90s fastball that induces ground balls and a splitter that also helps fuel his ground ball tendencies. He won’t blow anyone away but he is a durable arm with the ability to keep the ball in the park while also missing some bats. He profiles best in the seventh inning role and may be able to top out as a setup reliever under the right conditions.
The departure of Putnam – who ranked tenth on my Cleveland Indians Top 15 list – saps even more talent from an already weak Indians farm system. The trade for Jimenez last year and the graduation of Lonnie Chisenhall and Jason Kipnis have left the system with precious little upper level talent. Putnam likely would not have made my Rockies Top 15, but he still has a chance to contribute in Denver in 2012.