• Frankie's Final Start?

    Francisco Liriano could be in a different uniform by week's end.On Monday night, Francisco Liriano is scheduled to make his 130th start in a Twins uniform. It might also be his last.

    With 25 strikeouts over his last two starts and a 2.84 ERA since the start of May, Liriano is the hottest pitcher in baseball. He also might be the most appealing rental available on the trade market, with Zack Greinke's market cooling and Cole Hamels perhaps closing in on an extension with the Phillies.

    Just over a week remains until the deadline, increasing the urgency for pitching-hungry contenders who could begin making hard pushes for the Minnesota left-hander, especially if he turns in another strong outing against the White Sox.

    This is certainly not the kind of leverage Terry Ryan expected to have when Liriano sat with an 11.02 ERA after one month's play. As frustrating as his April was, Twins fans should be very thankful that he was able to pull things together and rattle off three excellent months, boosting his trade value with each passing start. At this point, with the bidding war that ought to take place, I'll be disappointed if the Twins don't come away with at least one impact prospect in a deal.

    Pay close attention to Liriano when he takes the hill against Gavin Floyd. It might be your last chance, because you can bet a dozen other teams will be doing the same.
    This article was originally published in blog: Frankie's Final Start? started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 66 Comments
    1. raindog's Avatar
      raindog -
      It's been an absolute delight watching Liriano since he rejoined the rotation. I would love to watch him dominate the White Sox tonight. And if he's traded, he'll definitely be missed.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      I will be very disappointed if Minnesota doesn't keep Liriano.
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      I'll be at the game tonight and hope he pitches a 'lights-out' game. Yes, a fine performance would help his value and leverage for the Twins to get a good package for him, but for me, more importantly, more than any other team, I just hate losing to the White Sox. Hope this trade stuff doesn't make its way to his head in any way.
    1. jpodratz1's Avatar
      jpodratz1 -
      I think it's worth noting the fact that Liriano has done exceptionally well since Butera has been his personal catcher. Earlier in the season when Gardy wanted to start the year with 2 catchers (Mauer & Doumit), his ERA was over 9. They later called up Butera from AAA but Frankie was already in the bullpen by then. After being moved back to the starting rotation Drew has been his personal catcher and his ERA has been under 3. Yesterday they teamed Drew with Sam Deduno and it was Sam's best start by far since his call up. I realize Drew Butera is a problem offensively but he is an asset handling pitchers and with the current state of the rotation, that should not be overlooked.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      I'm more mixed now when I hear he doesn't want to be traded, but obviously there's no long term plan in place either... It's still probably best that he be traded..
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by jpodratz1 View Post
      I think it's worth noting the fact that Liriano has done exceptionally well since Butera has been his personal catcher. Earlier in the season when Gardy wanted to start the year with 2 catchers (Mauer & Doumit), his ERA was over 9. They later called up Butera from AAA but Frankie was already in the bullpen by then. After being moved back to the starting rotation Drew has been his personal catcher and his ERA has been under 3. Yesterday they teamed Drew with Sam Deduno and it was Sam's best start by far since his call up. I realize Drew Butera is a problem offensively but he is an asset handling pitchers and with the current state of the rotation, that should not be overlooked.
      On the other hand, Butera caught Liriano last season and both were awful. In Liriano's best season, Mauer primarily caught him.

      Let's not start dishing off credit to undeserving players. Liriano is pitching better because he's throwing harder, not because he has a different catcher.
    1. UCLA_YANKEE_COLA's Avatar
      UCLA_YANKEE_COLA -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      On the other hand, Butera caught Liriano last season and both were awful. In Liriano's best season, Mauer primarily caught him.

      Let's not start dishing off credit to undeserving players. Liriano is pitching better because he's throwing harder, not because he has a different catcher.
      Quit with the reasonability. A few years ago I got my first massage and that night my grandma died. Therefore - massages kill grandmas.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      On the other hand, Butera caught Liriano last season and both were awful. In Liriano's best season, Mauer primarily caught him.

      Let's not start dishing off credit to undeserving players. Liriano is pitching better because he's throwing harder, not because he has a different catcher.
      he seems to be able to locate his fastball a bit better too. When he's walking 5 guys a start, he's usually a disaster, no matter how many guys he can strike out.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      he seems to be able to locate his fastball a bit better too. When he's walking 5 guys a start, he's usually a disaster, no matter how many guys he can strike out.
      Didn't we dispell the magic Butera notion in the other thread?
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by jpodratz1 View Post
      I think it's worth noting the fact that Liriano has done exceptionally well since Butera has been his personal catcher. Earlier in the season when Gardy wanted to start the year with 2 catchers (Mauer & Doumit), his ERA was over 9. They later called up Butera from AAA but Frankie was already in the bullpen by then. After being moved back to the starting rotation Drew has been his personal catcher and his ERA has been under 3. Yesterday they teamed Drew with Sam Deduno and it was Sam's best start by far since his call up. I realize Drew Butera is a problem offensively but he is an asset handling pitchers and with the current state of the rotation, that should not be overlooked.
      well... I think that it is a chicken and egg situation. The previous 2 seasons Twins' pitchers had the worst ERA and the highest opponent OPS with Butera rather than any other catcher. This season has been reversed. I suspect Liriano has a lot to do with that trend Here are the numbers (for the total Twins' pitching staff) :

      2010:

      Butera: ERA 4.13, OOPS .747,
      Mauer: ERA 3.81, OOPS .723,
      Ramos: ERA 3.29, OOPS .707,

      2011:

      Butera: ERA 4.92, OOPS .794,
      Mauer: ERA 4.43, OOPS .775,
      Rivera: ERA 3.91, OOPS .716,

      2012:

      Butera: ERA 3.84, OOPS .655,
      Mauer: ERA 5.46, OOPS .851,
      Doumit: ERA 5.06, OOPS .801,

      So basically using your argument, based on 2011, Rivera and not Butera should have been the Twins' backup catcher.
    1. jlovren's Avatar
      jlovren -
      I am not sure but it seems that he throwing a lot more sliders since May. Hmmmm.... more sliders means better pitching. Oh and massages kill grandmas.
    1. COtwin's Avatar
      COtwin -
      I say we start a bunch of fake blogs talking up how it is all butera. Maybe even get Gardy to say something public. Then trade them as a package deal for more. Kill two rocks with one bird.
    1. minn55441's Avatar
      minn55441 -
      What happens to his value if he throws a No-No tonight? Can we still trade him? Does that violate one of those unwritten baseball rules?

      I have always thought we should trade Frankie in that he is so inconsistent, but when I look at other teams pitching he is just the type we will be targeting in a trade. Plenty of upside and unfulfilled potential. I guess it all depends on what we get in return. If we get some real value, with players that will help us for seasons to come, I agreee with the trade. If we are just moving him to avoid losing him as a FA without any compensation, then I say keep him and see if we can come to an agreement on a 2 or 3 year deal after the season ends.
    1. gil4's Avatar
      gil4 -
      I would like to see the Twins sign Liriano to an extension. He said he would like to stay - offer the chance. I just get the feeling that he is figuring out what it takes to be successful, and he's more worthy of a roll of the dice that anyone else out there. If something in the neighborhood of 3 years/$27M could get it done, I'd do it.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Obviously the Twins should only sign Latino pitchers from this point forward. With the Latino Pitcher Whisperer behind the dish we'd have the greatest pitching staff ever assembled.

      As to the subject of this thread, I hope that rather than Frankie's last start for the Twins, this is the one that convinces them that teams with little to no starting pitching should be assembling a major league staff, not dismantling one, and a 3 yr extension is announced this week.

      Trading an outfielder or two for pitching makes sense. There are potential cheap replacements on the way, and plenty of serviceable and reasonably priced options in free agency every winter. Starting pitching is harder and costlier to come by.

      Trading pitching for pitching is at best nothing more than spinning your wheels, and at worst you lose what you have and the prospects never amount to anything.

      I still think the right moves now, and some money this winter, means we don't have to suffer through two or three more 90 loss seasons waiting for the "rebuild" to bear fruit. They have the money and the core of a team to turn this around next year, and without jeopardizing the future by dealing most of their minor league assets.
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      There is no need for Frankie the last two months of a broken season. If the Twins want him next year, they are just as able to sign him as any other team should they choose to this off-season. At this point there is no way he signs a mid-season extension seeing as he's the hottest pitcher in the league right now. If Hamels and/or Greinke end up signing deals with their current teams, Liriano and his agent are going to be licking their chops this off-season. To get a deal done now would mean the Twins would have to severly overpay.
    1. DAM DC Twins Fans's Avatar
      DAM DC Twins Fans -
      Whether or not it is the Drew factor, Frankie is pitching as well as he has in years. Do we sign him to a 3 year extension--very risky for a guy who is inconsistent?? Do we keep him and risk losing him for nothing in the fall?? No way would I offer him the $12million it would take to get compensation.

      Hard call--if we trade him we must get a top notch prospect. I am not being paid the big bucks Terry Ryan is--so I wont make the call...
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      Didn't we dispell the magic Butera notion in the other thread?
      I wasn't disagreeing with Pig at all, if you notice I've consistently agreed with him on this topic... I just added that his ability to locate his fastball (which I'd argue has little to nothing to do with Butera) is also part of his resurgence.
    1. PMKI's Avatar
      PMKI -
      If Liriano doesn't want to be traded like somebody up above said than maybe we can trade him and get some good prospects and then sign him again in the offseason.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMKI View Post
      If Liriano doesn't want to be traded like somebody up above said than maybe we can trade him and get some good prospects and then sign him again in the offseason.
      If he doesn't want to be traded, we should trade him and that will make him want to come back in the off-season? huh?
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