Thursday, February 10, 2011

Twins Open To Trading Liriano

Yesterday, Joe Christensen from the Star Tribune wrote an article about how the Twins are open to trading their left handed starter, Francisco Liriano. And even I'll admit, I instantly became filled with rage. Liriano had a terrific 2010 season going 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA. He also set career highs in 2010 with 191.2 innings pitched and 201 strikeouts. Liriano, of course, had Tommy John surgery in late 2006, forcing him to miss the entire 2007 season. Then upon his return to the Twins, his starts were very inconsisntent. He lacked command and he had issues keeping calm. Things that went away (for the most part) in 2010.

But as time passed following my reading that article, I settled down. Especially after reading Seth Stohs tweet, it sank in. The Twins aren't trading Frankie without getting a great deal in return. Liriano still has a couple of seasons left under team control before he can enter free agency. And right now his value his very high coming off the season he had. And the Twins unwillingness to sign him long term this offseason could show they are looking into it. But it could also say they want to see another year like 2010 first before giving him a long term contract, so he can prove the injury is behind him.

For those of you who say, "Look how the Johan Santana trade ended up," I have to disagree with you, when it comes to trading Liriano. For one, in the offseason between 2007 and 2008, the Twins really had no choice but to trade Santana. He was about to enter the final year of his contract. The Twins did not want to lose him without getting anything in return, via free agency (They would of gotten a couple of compensation draft choices had he walked). And they obviously weren't going to be able to resign him. He was, at that point, the best pitcher in the game. So their desperation to trade him kicked in. And they ended up getting a deal for less than what they should of gotten in return. They recieved OF Carlos Gomez, RHP Phillip Humber, RHP Kevin Mulvey, and RHP Deolis Guerra (All pitchers were starters). All but Guerra are no longer in the Twins system. And it is my opinion that either team got the better of the deal. Santana has been stellar for the Mets, but injuries have derailed his last two seasons and the team has gotten progressively worse since his arrival.

My point with tying Santana and Liriano is the Twins don't have that desperation to trade him right now. If anyone is desperate, it will be the team trading for Liriano. So if he does get traded, the Twins should receive a much better package in return. And i'll admit, its hard to talk about this when less phenomenal pitchers like Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn recieved long term extensions. So for now, we just have to relax about this. And who knows, with a lot of big contracts (Cuddyer, Nathan, Capps) coming off the books, the Twins could very well lock up Liriano. We'll just have to wait and see.

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