Liriano Thoughts

11 Feb

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There wasn’t a posting on Thursday morning because, I am thrilled to announce, I received the pre-ordered Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbooks on Wednesday, and spent that whole night getting them ready to be mailed out right away on Thursday… It was a bit of a late one, but it is complete. If you ordered a copy (or two) of the Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook via pre-order, you got a great deal, and your books are on their way now. Hopefully you will start seeing them very soon! If you pre-ordered and don’t get your copy by next Wednesday, please let me know. Thank you again to all that ordered.

If you are going to Ft. Myers, it will be nice to have with you, for when you see a minor leaguer get a late-inning at bat, or some time in the field. Or maybe you’ll be walking through minor league camp. And hey, it’s good for autographs too! So, if you didn’t pre-order, and you have yet to order, it is now available online here. For just $14.95, you get 170 page of Twins minor league content.


With that, let’s talk a little bit about Joe Christensen’s article about the idea of trading Francisco Liriano. I’ve been asked several times today for my thoughts. Here are a few:

  • Joe Christensen is as credible as it gets. If he was willing to put the story into the paper, it’s based on something, probably discussions with people in the know.
  • So, the questions become Who? and Why?
    • Could it be coming from Liriano’s agent? Remember two years ago when Liriano was pitching at Rochester and his agent complained publically that Liriano was being held back in Triple-A so that he wouldn’t be arbitration-eligible? Could the agent be upset at the Twins still and trying to start something in an attempt to get his agent a lot of dollars, or a trade to a place he wants to go?
    • Could it have been leaked by the Twins front office? Maybe in an attempt to gauge a couple of things. First, they can gauge fan reaction to potentially trading an ace-like pitcher when most have been saying that the team needs to add an ace (it would not be pretty at all for a team that claims to want to win now). Second, it could show up on MLB Trade Rumors and on Twitter and teams could then contact the Twins to see what it would take to get the Twins lefty.
    • I’ve said all along that I would be comfortable with the Twins signing Liriano for up to four years and up to $40 million. Again, that was based on comparables Zach Greinke and Josh Johnson’s contracts signed at the same point in their careers. However…
    • As I have said numerous times, I am 100% against signing starting pitchers to huge contracts beyond the age of 31, maybe 32. It was interesting to read what Andy McPhail, former Twins GM and current Orioles GM, said yesterday about signing #1 starters. “We’re not going to be buying No. 1 pitchers. Because by the time they reach free agency, they’re expensive and they’re fragile. It’s just a bad place for us to spend our money.”
    • That said, I have also said that there are plenty of reasons to just go one year now. Yes, his Tommy John surgery was in November of 2006, but that was far from his first arm injury. As much as I say that, at the end of the day, I’ll put Liriano’s stats against anyone, I don’t disagree with those who say that he tends to get a little over-excited in big games and big moments. If Liriano is really asking for the three years and $39 million mentioned in the article, the Twins would be better off just having an ace at $4.5 million this year and see what happens.
    • If that 3 years and $39 million number was an extension beyond the $4.5 million he will make in 2011, then the four year total would be 4 years and $43.5 million. As John Bonnes has said on twitter, that’s about where the agent should start negotiations as it is only $3.5 million over what I thought was fair.
    • It isn’t worth getting upset about the story for many reasons.
      • First, I don’t really think that the Twins will trade Francisco Liriano before the season starts.
      • Second, maybe Liriano and his agent have demanded a trade. We don’t know the whole story.
      • Third, We don’t know what the trade market would be for someone like Liriano.
        • What type of package could the Twins get for Liriano? I mean, what if the Rays offered Jeremy Hellickson and Desmond Jennings? What if the Angels offered a package around Mike Trout?
        • Michael Young for Francisco Liriano, even if the Rangers throw in a lot of cash, is not a good trade… Add in Derek Holland, and we can sit down at a table together and start talking.

I know it’s a day later, but I do have an excuse, right? Let me know what you think about these Liriano rumors, or any other Twins topics. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to discuss in the comments section.

  • Be sure to Vote Valencia over at Puckett’s Pond!
  • Edited by John and featuring the entire TwinsCentric crew and several more of your favorite Twins writers, the Maple Street Press Twins Annual 2011 is now available for pre-order here. Pre-ordering means that you will get it before it reaches news stands (could be sent out in a week or so, according to John Bonnes’s blog at the STrib today), and you won’t have to stand in line to pick yours up!!

  • Seth’s Minnesota Twins Prospect Handbook 2011 is now available online here. For just $14.95, you get 170 page of Twins minor league content.


9 Responses to “Liriano Thoughts”

  1. mike wants wins February 11, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Trading Liriano for prospects, wtih M&M&Span in their primes would lend credence to the comments of Santana and Hunter that this team always plays for the future. IF you aren’t trying to win now when you have those three on the roster, when do you try to win?

    Why would the Rays deal Hellickson and another player for a more expensive player? Not gonna happen.

    Would I listen to offers? Sure, I’d listen to offers for any player on the roster. But you can’t play for the future all the time. Going from Liriano to Blackburn is a lot less wins, a lot less wins. You’d have to 100% blow me away to trade Liriano, both in present and future value.

    btw, if Joe C prints something, you know it comes from the Twins.

    • TT February 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      “Trading Liriano for prospects, wtih M&M&Span in their primes would lend credence to the comments of Santana and Hunter that this team always plays for the future. IF you aren’t trying to win now when you have those three on the roster, when do you try to win”

      Without Span? I don’t think he is really a core player. I also think the idea the Twins would trade Liriano for prospects while they are still in a pennant race is absurd. They might make that kind of deal at the trade deadline if they think Gibson is ready and they are longshots to make the playoffs.

      As for playing for the future. The Twins ARE always playing for the future as well as the present. Which is why they have won division championships in six of the last nine years. Perhaps they should have traded Mauer, Morneau, Span, Cuddyer, Young, Crain, Baker, Slowey, Blackburn and Liriano and surrounded Hunter and Santana with a bunch of proven major league stars. But the didn’t. And I am glad for that.

      • mike wants wins February 11, 2011 at 2:26 pm #

        Not me. What if they had traded Blackburn/Slowey for a legit DH or 3B when Hunter and Santana were here and they won a WS? I’d rather have that than Blackburn on the team now. I’d be thrilled if they had dealt Blackburn for a legit player, thrilled.

  2. Mr. Hockey February 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Could be that they know he won’t sign for a market extention and so–let’s get maximum value for him.

  3. TT February 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm #

    “Joe Christensen is as credible as it gets. If he was willing to put the story into the paper, it’s based on something, probably discussions with people in the know.”

    I doubt it. Its based on something, but the people who would really know wouldn’t be talking about it. Moreover what does he really say?

    “one possible solution is trading Francisco Liriano. Speaking to team officials recently, I’ve been surprised how open they are to this possibility…”

    What does that actually mean? That when Christenson raised the idea, no one said Liriano is untradeable?

    “From what I’ve heard, their long-term talks went nowhere, with Liriano’s camp hinting it wanted a three-year, $39 million contract”

    Isn’t “from what I’ve heard” pretty much the preface for any rumor?

    “Publicly, the Twins keep saying Liriano is a big part of their 2011 plans.”

    In short, the only thing Christenson actually reports is that the people he talked to didn’t rule out trading Liriano.

    This is just stirring the pot. There is nothing new there, except speculation by Christenson about trading Liriano that the Twins officials he talked to didn’t immediately reject out of hand. Its classic hotstove media.

    • mike wants wins February 11, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      Same way he started reporting on Hardy…..

      • TT February 11, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

        You mean the speculation that they wouldn’t offer Hardy arbitration. That didn’t turn out to be true…

        Everyone would be thrilled if the Twins could have traded Blackburn for the player who made them a WS champion. What if they had traded Mauer and Morneau for that player. Or, more likely, traded them and then lost in the playoffs anyway?

        I think its important to remember the Twins traded away a veteran allstar catcher to make room for the future – Mauer. If they were only trying to “win now” at that point they would have dealt Mauer, not Pierzynksi, and for proven players, not guys like Nathan and Liriano. They let Mientkiewicz go to open a spot for Morneau, but they certainly could have traded Morneau for a proven major league player instead. Baker would have brought an experienced starter or at least some bullpen help to go with Guardado and Hawkins. In short, the Twins could have traded away the future and tried to “win now” in 2002-2004 when they still had Hunter, Jones, Koskie, Guzman, Stewart, Radke, Silva, Lohse and Santana.

  4. bcntwinsfan February 11, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    who’s your decorator? fire her.

  5. Matt in VA February 13, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    No way do the Twins get Hellickson or Trout for Liriano. The best they could hope for is a package of second tier prospects like the Royals got for Greinke. Liriano has the talent to be an ace, but he has yet to show the mentality or consistency to be a front of the rotation starter. If the Twins try to trade him, they won’t get what the fans would consider fair value. I say let him play out his last two arbitration years in a Twins uniform and then let him walk and pocket the draft picks. Big investments in starting pitching almost never work out.

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