Francisco Liriano burst onto the scene in 2006, outpitching even the great Johan Santana while he was still a member of the Minnesota Twins. Big things were expected of Liriano, and due to his inconsistency it felt like he never really lived up to the hype. As a pending free agent, the Twins were hoping he’d have a strong season so they could trade him to a contender. His name should have been a popular one in the MLB Rumors mill. But nothing worked out the way the Twins expected, and after 4 starts Liriano had an 11.02 ERA.
Things turned around once Francisco Liriano was demoted to the bullpen. He eventually rejoined the rotation, and he’s been dominant ever since. In June Liriano struck out more than a batter an inning, and has pitched to a 3.33 ERA to go along with a 0.95 WHIP. Very impressive numbers, and it begs the question – could Francisco Liriano be on the move?
The Twins have nothing to gain by keeping him this season. At 28-42 and 9 games back of the division leading Cleveland Indians, it’s just too unlikely that the Twins would make the playoffs. Given Francisco Liriano’s struggles over the past year, and the Twins wouldn’t even be able to get good compensation for him. So the only way they can get some value back for Liriano is through a trade.
Francisco Liriano is making $5 million this season, so a team wouldn’t have to take on a ton of salary. He’s using his slider more than ever now, and it’s one of the best in the majors. When Liriano is on he can be unhittable, and having a weapon like that in the playoffs would give any team a significant edge. The Twins can’t expect to get a stud prospect back in return for Liriano, but they should be able to get a quality player, or group of players who can help them for the future.
This may be a lost season for the Twins, but they cannot allow Liriano to walk away without getting any value for him.