With the July 31 trade deadline fast approaching and currently sitting 10 games out of first place in the American League Central despite winning six of their last eight games, the Minnesota Twins are certain to have to become sellers and look toward 2013 and beyond. That means looking to trade their best assets and get some young talent, particularly pitching, in return for whoever they choose to deal.
I present to you Francisco Liriano, who with another solid outing against the Texas Rangers Friday night is now 3-2 with a 2.74 ERA over eight starts (49.1 innings) since returning to the starting rotation in late May after a demotion to the bullpen. He has gotten some interest from other teams, as the Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees have all reportedly sent scouts to his starts recently. All three teams have had injuries deplete their starting rotations in recent weeks, and all three can also still consider themselves playoff contenders at this point. The Rangers, with their own pitching issues right now, got a close-up look at Liriano and it would not be surprising if they showed some interest in him now.
The biggest question may be what the Twins can expect to get in return for Liriano. No one knows his history of inconsistency as well as they do, and right now looks like the best opportunity to trade him while his value is at its highest and there seems to be a fairly significant market. The fact he is also slated to become a free agent after the season stands to make him even more desirable to interested teams. I think it’s unlikely Liriano has made his last start as a Twin, but if he performs well in his first couple starts after the All-Star break he could be gone quickly.