What’s Francisco Liriano Worth?

Joe Christensen dropped a minor bombshell on Minneapolis this morning, writing that the Twins may be open to trading Francisco Liriano at some point during spring training. According to Christensen, the Twins were put off by his asking price when the possibility of a long term deal was broached, and now they don’t expect to keep the pitcher beyond 2012. With depth in the rotation and a decent argument to be made that moving Liriano now would be the definition of selling high, there is some logic to exploring what their ace would command in return.

Three other starting pitchers in a similar position have already been traded this winter – Zack Greinke, Matt Garza, and Shaun Marcum. Greinke and Marcum were in identical positions, as they’ll be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2012 season. Garza has an extra year of team control, but because he was a super-two and became arbitration eligible last year, his prices are rising faster than the others and that final year will be rather expensive, limiting its value and making Garza more like the others.

Due to his injury history and inconsistency, Liriano won’t command the same return as Greinke, and he probably wouldn’t gather as much interest as Garza did either. Teams put a premium on durability, and Garza has thrown 200 innings in consecutive seasons, while Liriano has never crossed that threshold. Given their similar-ish ERAs, the Twins will likely find resistance if they try to argue that Liriano is worth more than Garza, even though he blew him away in peripherals last year.

That leaves Marcum as the closest comparison to Liriano. Like Liriano, Marcum has a history of injury problems but returned to pitch at a high level last year. In fact, their 2010 innings pitched and ERA totals are nearly identical, and this showed in their 2011 contracts – Marcum avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $3.95 million deal, while Liriano got $4.3 million. While Marcum doesn’t throw as hard, they both have knockout secondary pitches which they lean heavily upon.

In return for Marcum, the Blue Jays acquired Brett Lawrie, who Keith Law recently rated as the 37th best prospect in baseball. Position prospects in that range are generally worth about $20-$25 million in value, based on Victor Wang’s research. While the Twins could likely argue that Liriano should be valued at a higher rate than Marcum (teams pay a premium for velocity and strikeouts, both areas where Liriano has a significant edge), I think they’d have a tough time getting significantly more than what Toronto received when they moved a similarly valued pitcher.

In other words, Twins fans can probably stop dreaming of someone like Jesus Montero, as the Yankees would likely balk at that asking price. But if they made Liriano available, the Yankees would be the most obvious suitor, and would likely pay a higher price than any other team. Perhaps they’d be willing to part with Manny Banuelos, who Law ranks as one of the game’s best pitching prospects? That might be enough to satisfy the perceived differences between Liriano and Marcum, but would it be a large enough premium to justify improving one of the Twins main rivals for the American League pennant?

Dealing Liriano to the Yankees is likely the big question that the Twins will have to answer. If they make Liriano available, you can be sure that Brian Cashman will pick up the phone. If the Twins see 2011 as something of a consolidation year, with World Series contention more of a hope than a legitimate reality, then you can justify sending your best pitcher to a league rival if you think you’re getting the better end of the deal long term. But if the Twins think that Justin Morneau is going to be 100 percent this year and they want to make another run at a championship while they have Jim Thome and the M&M boys in their primes, then they shouldn’t be in the business of strengthening teams they will need to beat in October.

I can see the reasoning behind considering dealing Liriano now, but it would likely require the Twins to admit that 2011 is probably not their year, and that’s a tough case to make to the rest of the team right as spring training opens up. If this was a path they wanted to pursue, it probably would have made more sense to be aggressive in dealing Liriano earlier in the winter, when they might have been able to ship him to Milwaukee or Chicago, getting quality prospects in return and getting him out of the American League. Now, faced with the choice of sending him to New York or taking an offer that is likely less impressive in return than what the Yankees would put on the table, the Twins are left with two less than palatable options. At this juncture, I think the Twins are probably best served hanging onto Liriano until the summer. By then, they may have more clarity about their own chances of making a splash in the playoffs, and there might also be an NL contender willing to get in on the bidding.




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Dave is a co-founder of USSMariner.com and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

107 Responses to “What’s Francisco Liriano Worth?”

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  1. MauerPower says:

    I’ll be pissed if Liriano is delt. He’s our only strikeout starter and Blackburn sucks and I’m not sure what to expect out of Slowey and I don’t like Pavano as an ace.

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  2. Wigman says:

    Liriano is definitely an interesting player to keep our eyes on this year. As I recall he sort of “fizzled-out” at the end of last year; more importantly, he was roughed up in the playoffs. I agree with Cameron in the sense that the Yanks will offer the most (bold statement, what else is new), but what we (fantasywise) or they (the REAL GMs) really need to see is how he can hold up over a span of a few years. This is what makes him a high-risk/reward player THIS year. Can the Yanks really afford to give up yet another young pitching talent?

    Sincerely,
    Wig.

    Ps. Go get em’ AA!

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    • MauerPower says:

      I think the main reason he wore down last yr is cus he pitched like 58 innings in winter ball

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      • fredsbank says:

        yeah, its not that there’s actually legitimate question marks about a man who got to the 8th inning what, twice last season and has like 1 complete game in his career, that couldnt be relevant

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Can the Yankees afford it? Of course. The Yankees can reasonably afford anything in baseball. I swear they sandbag it half the time just so they don’t get ganged up on by the other 29 clubs.

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      • MikeD says:

        Afford it from a money perspective? Of course. The Yankees really haven’t increased their payroll since 2005, yet their revenue sources have continued to multiply. I have no doubt the Yankees could double their payroll to $400 million and still be turning a profit.

        The real trick to adding a player of Liriano’s quality is not salary, but having the prospects to trade to get him. That’s one area now that the Yankees can play in since they’re rated as having one of the top systems. Most of these players won’t make it to the Yankees, but can be used to trade for a Liriano, or someone else.

        Can’t see why, however, the Twins would want to make that trade now, unless they actually have some concern that his recent workload might come back to haunt them. If not, they’re better off waiting until there is more of a need from other teams to drive up the price.

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  3. S.M. Jenkins says:

    I actually think that the Yankees probably would entertain trading Jesus Montero for two years of reasonable club control over a pitcher of Francisco Liriano’s ilk considering the state of said organization’s pitching staff at this time. I’m not necessarily stating that I’d agree with the logic, but I doubt it’s anything close to unthinkable.

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    • Brad Johnson says:

      Wouldn’t surprise me either. I wonder how the Twins would deploy Montero with Mauer, Morneau, and Thome around…

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      Why would the Twins want Montero in the first place? The Twins are the team with THE lowest value for him.

      Instead, I think they would have to take 4 or so prospects (mostly starting pitchers). Then they could trade or not 1 or 2 of them and maybe their 4th or 5th arm for a second arm rental at midseason.

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    • Pierre says:

      I think the Yanks would make that trade in heartbeat. 2 years of Liriano for one prospect? Absolutely. Don’t know why Dave thinks otherwise. And I agree with the other posters that this would make no sense for MIN.

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      • Franco says:

        The Yanks were willing to give Montero for 2 months of Cliff Lee last year weren’t they? Cliff Lee is the better pitcher, but I’ll take 2 years of Liriano over 2 months of Lee.

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      • bronxbrain says:

        I suspect that the Yankees wouldn’t move Montero for Liriano and probably wouldn’t move Banuelos for him either. Since Cashman has really been in control (since 2005), he has clung tightly to his blue-chip prospects. Of course, he would trade anyone he needed to if the prize were Felix Hernandez, Josh Johnson, or David Price. Liriano’s value is diminished by his injury history, and Cashman doesn’t want to make a deal that will cause him to look stupid in a year from now.

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  4. Dwight Schrute says:

    Personally I would take him over Garza and Marcum but behind Greinke. The problem is that his traditional stats didn’t look that good last year(ERA, WHIP, W-L record) so you would probably need to find a team that is more into metrics to get maximum trade value out of him. Because an old school GM may see the fact that he was 14-10 last year with a 3.62 ERA, 1.26WHIP and under 200IP(he’s actually never pitched that many in his career) and be turned off by it. By turned off I don’t mean that they still wouldn’t want him because those are above average stats and he is a lefty which teams love but that they wouldn’t give nearly as much.

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  5. Matty Brown says:

    he doesn’t fit the Twins mold of Strike-Throwing-with-Fringe-Velocity.

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  6. NEPP says:

    Very very very stupid to trade him as he’s their best pitcher.

    Honestly, 3 years, $39 million doesnt sound that ridiculous for an extension…Why are the Twins balking at that?

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    • Dave Cameron says:

      He’s going to make $4.3 million this year, and if he has a good year, he might get $8 to $10 million in arbitration next year. So, they already have him under control for 2 years at $12 to $14 million. 3/39 asks for a $25 million valuation on his first free agent year. That’s crazy, given how little leverage he has.

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      • NEPP says:

        Good point.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        I agree, great point!

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      • t ball says:

        Sure, but as a starting point for negotiations they could at least make a counter offer for something like 3/$28-30M. Of course, as far as we know, they did and were rebuffed.

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      • Steven Ellingson says:

        Don’t you think they maybe meant 3 for 39 after this year? That sounds a little more reasonable. Buy out the first two years at about 15 a piece.

        But then, if that’s the asking price, I have no idea why they would have cut off negotiations.

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      • NEPP says:

        Question for Dave: What type of deal do you think Liriano would get as a free agent? Would he be in the $13-15 million AAV range?

        What would he get if he has 2 more solid to very good years like last year? If he would theoretically get $15 million per in a deal for that free agent year, that would put them fairly close together ($29 million vs $39 million).

        Either way, trading him is the wrong answer unless they are completely blown away.

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      • Bob says:

        regardless, trading him makes no sense at all. While it may be true that his value may be peaking now, the 2011 Twins will def suffer if they deal him and they are clearly set up to win now.

        On top of which, dealing him to the team that abuses them in the 1st round of the playoffs each yr is all kinds of absurd.

        I think this likely nothing, and maybe just a misdirection for another SP like Slowey to get dealt instead.

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    • Barkey Walker says:

      A guess: because he rarely sees the 7th inning. While he gets lots of Ks and lots of GBs… he also gets lots of LDs. When he plays he often puts two guys on in innings, has two 10+ pitch at bats. It can be really hard to watch from the home side. But he is a great pitcher, so his ground balls, and strikeouts often get him out of his messes.

      That said, other teams might find his traditional stats only good, but he also has that amazing slider.

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      • AJ says:

        I’d say he’s doing a lot better with that. Can he improve? Yes, but he improved greatly from 2009 to 2010. He completed at least 7 innings in only 24 percent of his starts in 2009. He completed at least 7 innings in 52 percent of his starts in 2010.

        That’s a huge improvement. He still has room to improve. I don’t think 2010 was his after-TJ ceiling. I still think he can get better. Plus, he didn’t pitch winter ball this year. That will definitely help the arm.

        And like Steven Ellingson said, the Twins are pretty strict about the pitch count. Unless you’re Carl Pavano, you’re not going much over, if at all over, 100 pitches.

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      • Barkey Walker says:

        AJ, I see what you are saying. It is rare for him to get above 105 pitches in a game add 20 pitches and he could complete games many times a year. But as I recall he was pretty worn down at the end of the season despite this.

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    • Steven Ellingson says:

      Barkey,

      Liriano doesn’t see the end of games because the Twins have very strict pitch counts, not because of how he pitches. He is in the top half of the league in pitches per plate appearances.

      This is just one of those misperceptions Twins fans have. They all think Liriano and Slowey throw too many pitches. It takes pitches to get strikeouts. And it takes strikeouts to be a good pitcher. See: Blackburn, Nick.

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  7. VodkaDave says:

    Honestly, 3 years, $39 million doesnt sound that ridiculous for an extension…Why are the Twins balking at that?

    Because the Twins have him under team control the next two years for 10-11 million dollars total. Liriano isn’t worth 28 million for one year of his free agency…

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    • ofMontreal says:

      I do think that’s a bit much. But the point is that these are negotiations. So the Twins then say 4/40 and see what happens. Why would they leak this and try to make Liriano look greedy? This is the same thing they did with Santana. Make him look like too much(is there a problem?) and then limit themselves in who they can eventually deal with.

      It’s moralizing instead of doing business. Plus pissing on your best pitcher. Great management. It think we are seeing the fallout from not making the WS last season. They are going to be an infielder short this season for cheapness too.

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    • sean says:

      This question is answered above, and quite well. There’s no advantage for the Twins in buying out his arbitration years for a huge premium.

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  8. BrewCrew says:

    Liriano would not command as much interest as Garza? Really!?

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  9. joser says:

    But the Twins have to balance the possibility that by the deadline this summer, he’ll be back on the DL and have no trade value whatsoever. For that matter, there’s always the chance they trade him to the Yankees now without having to worry about getting past him in the postseason because by October he’ll be on the bench in the Bronx with his arm in a sling. Not something you count on of course, but you can’t get so fixated on the upside that you discount the downside risks.

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    • Luke in MN says:

      Well, is his injury risk really going to be appreciably higher than that of whoever the Twins would get in return? I mean, he’s already gone through the TJ thing, so it’s not like he’s an accident waiting to happen like he was before the surgery. He pitched something like 250 innings last year if you include winter ball, so it’s not like he hasn’t shown he can handle an MLB starter’s workload.

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  10. Adam H. says:

    If Liriano has a good first half of the season then maybe the Twins will approach him and his agent about an extension. But the Twins don’t really do negotiations during the season, so they’ll loose any leverage with him about an extension if they come to their senses.

    It’s funny how they can pay a declining RF $8-11 million a year but they can’t pony up for a pitcher who is by far the best on the team. They can sign Blackburn who reached his peak in his second year. Both considered clubhouse guys. Hmmmm.

    If they trade Liriano I hope the Pohlads sell the team to an owner who will shake up the front office and get someone in here that understands the game. I’m sick of the Twins sticking with their philosophy. Stop trying to be the cute little team that gets to the playoffs and then ousted in the first round.

    If the Twins are trying to do this to solve the problem of having too many pitchers then trade Slowey or Blackburn. Trade them bullpen relief like they do with most players on their team.

    If Liriano is traded have fun looking up at the ChiSox and the Tigers this year. Hell, maybe the Indians too.

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    • MGraves says:

      The Twins will likely be looking up at the Tigers and ChiSox whether or not Liriano is traded.

      Poor outfield defense. Perhaps one proven infielder (assuming Morneau is able to play). One shutdown pitcher is not going to make a difference.

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      • Maximus says:

        Twins did alright last year with poor outfield defense, only one good infielder, and a so-so rotation.

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      • MGraves says:

        Maximus–
        So two former all stars are the equivalents to a Japanese all star and a never was? Punto couldn’t hit, but he played great defense. The infield is significantly diminished.

        You also assume that Chicago and Detroit haven’t improved. Minnesota will struggle to win 75 this year and fight for third in the central.

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  11. @eg110110 says:

    Pierzynski, only if dealt with Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser.

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  12. TFINY says:

    Please, Please, Please Twins, don’t trade Liriano yet. Wait one more year, get him some good stats, sell him next spring training when he is Really high. We missed our opportunity this year, just relax, take it slow, don’t make a mistake you’ll regret. Trading now? That’s a mistake.

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    • merizobeach says:

      I agree. His salary is only a shade over $4M; I think he’ll provide much more value, but if he busts or gets injured, he won’t get such a large raise next year, when it would probably still be good to ‘gamble’ on him. I suppose page one of my playbook says ‘don’t trade your pitching’.

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  13. Rob says:

    Why waste Mauer and Morneau’s prime? Keep Liriano and let him walk if that is what ends up happening.

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  14. Bill&TedsExcellentAdventure says:

    If the twins don’t get a ridiculous offer for him this offseason they shouldn’t trade him. Obviously #1, they have a very good chance of contending this coming year. And I think if they don’t, they can get just as good of a return for him around the trade deadline. The main thing is the twins do not have to trade him, so don’t unless you get an offer that blows you away.

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  15. Josh says:

    Are the Nationals a legit suitor? Rizzo’s made it pretty clear he wanted an ace and didn’t get one.

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    • Pistol Pete says:

      Absolutely. They had a deal in place for Greinke, but Zack shot it down with his No-trade clause. Plus, these teams worked well together on the Capps/Ramos deal.

      Best match-up prospect wise would be Derek Norris & Drew Storen… and do the Twins want a catcher that is one or two years away, and a RP? Can’t imagine Nats would trade Jordan Zimmermann.

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  16. barold says:

    I can’t imagine any way the Twins could deal Liriano now and ‘win’ the trade unless his arm exploded a month after they traded him

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    • Captain Obvious says:

      Really?

      If he doesn’t get traded and gets hurt a month in, they should have traded him?

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      • KG says:

        Sorry Captain Obvious, he’s arguing it would be very hard to get equal value unless Liriano gets injured, not that if he gets injured while on the team, they should have traded him.

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  17. adohaj says:

    AHHHHHHHH I hope these rumors are just rumors. It makes no sense to me. I am paying an extra sales tax for target field but paying Liriano is out of the question? Oh yea they need to pay Cuddier… At least Punto is off the books what was he making 6 million? The Twins are a contending team again this year. Why would they trade the only power arm on the starting staff for minor league players. Even without Morneau the lineup is above average.

    My solution. Dump Cuddier and his contract for who cares what. Thome DH Kubel RF and pay your 28 year old left hander who had a 2.66 FIP last year.

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  18. Mike Norris says:

    Wow. Liriano is tons better than Garza.

    Liriano : 191 IP, 2.66 FIP, 3.06xFIP, 53% GB, 9.44 K/9,
    Garza: 204 IP, 4.42 FIP, 4.51xFIP, 35% GB, 6.60K/9

    Yeah, sounds like a real tough argument to prove he’s better.

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    • Preston says:

      Obviously Liriano has better stuff, but Garza has been durable and Liriano had TJ surgerey. I’d trade Montero for Liriano if it was straight one for one, the Yankees have Russel Martin under control for two years and Austin Romine at AA, with Gary Sanchez as an elite prospect for the future. A more realistic package would be Dellin Betences with Eduardo Nunez and David Adams.

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      • Bryz says:

        I would NOT trade Montero for Liriano straight up. The Twins have no need for Montero right now, and no evidence that Mauer needs to move away from catcher in the near future.

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      • Tim says:

        There are only two kinds of pitchers: Those who have had Tommy John surgery, and those who haven’t had Tommy John surgery yet.

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    • Eric Cioe says:

      Go back another two years and that’s why Garza is valued more highly. Garza is a horse with no history of arm trouble. Liriano is a much higher injury risk than Garza.

      Liriano is definitely more talented but Garza is a much safer pick. Innings are totally undervalued by a lot of people. All the talent in the world doesn’t help when it’s sitting on the DL. That’s why Rich Harden is a has been and his rotationmate with a lot less talent, Joe Blanton, is a somewhat valuable commodity.

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    • bender says:

      There’s no question Liriano’s better than Garza but Liriano’s FIP and xFIP don’t reflect his value because most teams use ERA

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  19. Ari Collins says:

    Thing is, that Joe Christensen article is 90% speculation pretending to be sourced. It sounds like he asked some officials, “Would you ever be open to trading Liriano?” And they said, “Sure, we’d be open to anything.”

    He makes it sound like his sources said that the Twins are giving up on signing him long-term, but they’ve got two years left, and he only really sourced the opinion that talks aren’t going anywhere right now.

    In other words: nothing to see here, folks.

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    • Luke in MN says:

      Another reporter confirmed it today with the team and the Twins only fueled the fire that they were seriously considering trading him:

      “A source with knowledge of the situation said the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers top the list of potential suitors and the deal could happen “anytime” — although the Twins are willing to wait for the right package.”

      http://www.1500espn.com/sportswire/Sources_Twins_open_to_dealing_Francisco_Liriano_for_right_price021011

      I don’t think this is a blame-the-reporters story. A deal might not happen, but there’s clearly something there.

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      • Tim says:

        “Baseball sources” and “a source with knowledge of the situation” really sounds to me like they’re talking around the source not being with the Twins. Which would be consistent with the Twins front office rarely saying anything about anything.

        Not sure who they would be talking to though.

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      • Luke in MN says:

        You’re right about the story I linked to and that’s a good catch as I’d assumed “baseball sources” meant Twins baseball-operations sources, but it might not as you point out. But the original story did have Twins sources who were surprisingly open to the idea of trading Liriano.

        http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/115676604.html

        The Twins can throw water on this if they want to. We’ll see what they do.

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      • Franco says:

        I have no idea how credible these reporters are, but you can’t expect them to say things like “The assistant GM told me that they are looking to trade Liriano”. It’s just the typical protecting your sources.

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    • AJ says:

      The thing about Joe Christensen is that he almost never just makes something out of nothing. I would say he’s like that 99% of the time. It’s common knowledge around MN. I even heard the sports stations on the radio saying that Joe Christensen doesn’t just make up crap in order to get readers.

      That’s why this is a big deal and that’s why it’s being confirmed elsewhere as well. He was right about JJ Hardy, he’s been right in the past. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s right again.

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      • mike wants wins says:

        Many fans view Christensen as a very good reporter, who has a part time job as Twins’ PR. I love his work, but many of my friends and I agree that he seems to do the Twins’ work a lot….so if he’s floating something as ridiculous as this, it is because the Twins want him to. Or, most of the people I know and I are wrong about this….either way, trading Liriano while M&M are in their prime is a ridiculous idea. Sinker’s thought of getting Michael Young in the deal….how about just keeping JJ Hardy in the first place!

        I will lose what little respect (nice Santana trade, nice trade of Ramos for a closer, nice trade of Hardy for no reason, nice pickup of a Royal’s castoff RP when you drafted Diamond in the Rule V…..) I have for BS if he trades Liriano and doesn’t get immediate help for this team, immediate help like a great, young hitter, not a journeyman or some bullpen help. Mauer and Morneau are not getting younger. At some point, you have to play to win.

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  20. Alfedoz says:

    Fangraphs is ahead of the front office curve, but not that far ahead. I doubt there’s anyone outside KC or Anaheim who thinks Liriano isn’t significantly better than Marcum and Garza.

    The question is, does Minnesota know it?

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  21. bender says:

    Philly needs Liriano, their rotation could use a bit of color.

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  22. cowdisciple says:

    Aren’t the Twins at a point on the playoff odds curve where they should absolutely not be sacrificing present wins for future wins?

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    • AJ says:

      I would think so, but there are definitely many times when I have no idea what they are going to do next. The core of the team isn’t going to get any younger. There’s a window to win a WS with these guys. I don’t think we can assume we’ll be competing as often after our core is gone. It may happen, but it’s certainly nowhere near a guarantee.

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  23. Anthony says:

    Minny would be dumb to trade Liriano now. They are going to be contenders in the AL Central this year, and having a legit shot at making the playoffs in that division. If you trade your best starter then i’d put their chances back quite a bit. If you’re going to trade him, do it after this year, hoping he puts up similar numbers as this past season and then re-evluate his trade value. That’s unless Minny knows something that we don’t about Liriano’s health or perhaps work ethic, who knows. All that being said, i’d love Liriano on Toronto, but judging what AA has done this off-season it seems like a long-shot. Toronto definitely has the prospects/big league ready bats to get a deal done, the question is, would they be willing to part with any of them? How about Lawrie for Liriano? :P

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  24. Greg says:

    How much of an injury risk is Liriano at this point? I know there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that players can last years after Tommy John surgery (starting with Tommy John himself). But can anyone tell me what the odds are for a guy who’s staying healthy all season, four years after his surgery?

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  25. Kellin says:

    The Gigantes would loooovvvvveeee to take back Liriano, Eli Whiteside sounds like enough comp…

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  26. Mafrth77 says:

    If Liriano is healthy, he’s on par with Lester, CC & Price, a true K & GB guy. Two years of him is worth Montero. The Yanks would pull the trigger on that. He’s probably a 7 win upgrade in 2011 for a team that looks on the cusp of the playlets.

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    • Mafrth77 says:

      By “playet” I mean playoffs

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    • jordan says:

      Not sure about a 7 win upgrade – I’m not comfortable projecting him at more than 5 WAR, and I’d bet the Yanks end up with something like 1 WAR out of their 5th spot without him. So about 4 wins.

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      • Mafrth77 says:

        Yeah, but the Yanks have two of those guys on the rotation right now. I’ll bet one is replacement level or below. 6 WAR for Liriano is very reasonable in 200 innings.

        Vote -1 Vote +1

    • MikeD says:

      He’s “on par” with Lester, CC & Price in that his stuff projects out to be a front-end starter. Yet he has yet to prove he can be in the class of a Sabathia, who can be counted on, year in and year out, to deliver quality innings.

      Liriano right now has an injury history and has yet to ever pitch 200 innings in a season. I’m not saying he can’t do it, bue in order to be considered an elite-level pitcher, he needs to build off of, and improve, what he did last season.

      Not there yet.

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      • Eric Cioe says:

        I can’t really fathom how anyone could include Liriano in that class of pitchers. Sabathia has averaged about 240 innings over the last three years. Lester has averaged about 205. Liriano has averaged about 160, including his minor league numbers in 2008. He’s not even close to the level of those guys in terms of workload.

        I mean, look at the true horses of the AL, 2008-now: King Felix, Iron Horse Verlander, Buerhle, Shields, Lester, Burnett, Weaver, Danks, Guthrie. Those are generally good pitchers, including most of the great pitchers in the AL, and they have one thing in common: over the last three years, they’ve averaged more innings than Liriano has ever thrown.

        I cannot understand how people are putting him in the same sentence as Greinke when he has never thrown 200 innings in a season.

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  27. bSpittle says:

    The yankees would be nuts to balk at trading Montero for Liriano

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    • NEPP says:

      If I were the Yankees, I’d make that trade in a heartbeat. As great a prospect as Montero is, he’s basically a 1B/DH only. He wont be a catcher, not at the MLB level. He’s terrible defensively.

      Liriano is a very good LH pitcher and they NEED another starter if they want to go deep in the playoffs this year. 2 years of Liriano and the fact that they can easily afford to extend him before he hits the open market all for a DH/1B prospect (and both those positions are completely filled on their MLB roster?

      Not a hard decision if you’re Cashman.

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      • Preston says:

        Montero is a catcher. Scouts keep trying to say otherwise but the only people that count are the Yankees and they want him to catch. He will be no worse than a Victor Martinez or Jorge Posada. Maybe when he’s 30 he won’t be able to catch anymore and become a DH/1B but currently with his bat catching 120 games and DHing some he’ll be very productive. I’d still probably trade him for Liriano though.

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      • NEPP says:

        Or perhaps the Yankees are keeping him behind the plate to keep his trade value higher.

        If all the scouts who have watched him play agree he’s absolutely brutal behind the plate, they’re probably onto something.

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      • MikeD says:

        The Yankees are keeping Montero behind the plate because that’s where he has the most value to them. Another team would probably move him to first, but the Yankees have Teixeira there and an opening at catcher, so that’s where Montero stays.

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  28. Matt says:

    Man, the Rockies could use another lefty. Sure would be nice.

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    • fredsbank says:

      friedrich is september callup material pending a bounceback year, and should be in the rotation in 2012 or 13 at the latest, and add 1 or two years for matzek…. another lefty would be nice, but not so much that losing the prospects to get liriano would be worth it

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  29. fredsbank says:

    people here dont get that liriano doesnt look nearly as good to anyone mainstream as he does to saber people of all ilk, not a huge FIP guy but 190 innings of 2.66 is pretty legit if he can keep it up

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  30. @BrocNessMonster says:

    Wonder if the Dodgers get involved. They only have like,7 starters. Sounds like a Ned move.

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  31. Bill says:

    The Twins should be in win now mode. Screw the future.

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    • mike wants wins says:

      +1 (my more insightful comments are above, but I agree with this sentiment 100% – it’s not like M&M are super young or super old…..).

      Torii Hunter wanted to leave because they’d never try to win now. Trading Liriano would show how right he was.

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  32. Rob in CT says:

    If I’m the Yanks, I’d be comfortable giving up Banuelos, perhaps plus some additional lesser prospect, for Liriano. Montero… well, other than the fact that he’s a poor fit for the Twins (the M&M boys are there, though I suppose you could just DH him?) I don’t know if I’d give him up. But Cashman ain’t me: he was willing to give up Montero for a coupla months of Cliff Lee. So the question is how different do the Yankees think Lee and Liriano are?

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  33. joeyp says:

    i wouldnt give up banuelos or montero, period liriano is an injury waiting to happen,Billy smith has seen his mri, thats why their quietly open to trading him….

    run do not walk away from Liriano

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  34. Karim says:

    Why foes this article assume that the Yankees are the only viable option at this juncture? Rather bold assumption to make.

    I can see Texas “overpaying” easily, especially now that Lee is gone. Other teams I can see as possibilities are the Tigers, the Angels, maybe the Rockies.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • fredsbank says:

      the rockies arent going to dump their best prospects for liriano, they have 2 LHPs in the top 50 prospects that should be in the rotation in 3ish years

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  35. kab21 says:

    let’s not forget that Dave Cameron was trying to justify a Liriano for Jose Lopez trade last offseason. I think he still undervalues Liriano…

    I don’t want the Twins to trade Liriano because it really hurts their postseason chances. But my biggest concern is that they’ll make the decision to trade and then back themselves into a corner and trade him for a meager package.

    If I’m the Twins then I target a top prospect like Montero or Martin Perez from the Rangers. Montero might not have a spot to play in 2011 (unless injuries occur) but Kubel/Cuddyer/Thome are all FA’s after the season. So Mauer/Montero could split the C/DH spot 80/20 and the Twins add a big RH’d bat to go with Mauer and Morneau.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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