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  • 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. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      I'll predict this is NOT his last start in a Twins uniform. He'll still be in a Twins uniform next Sunday. Because teams are having trouble sorting out if they're in it or not, teams are waiting to see who is really available before giving their best offer. This is going to go down to the wire.

      (And from the Twins perspective, that's the way they should play it.)
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      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.
      Sorry it wasn't in direct reference to you, just to the topic being brought up agian that Butera is somehow a big part of Liriano's resurgence.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      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...
      The main reason I won't make a call is I don't know what kind of packages are being offered, nor what my scouts say about the players involved. Nor do I have a clear idea of what kind of money it would take to sign him to an extension. I'm in the camp of not trading him just for the sake of trading him; but if the offer is substantial, I'd be listening. And I'm very leery of a contract that could be untradeable if he reverts to recent form, a situation that would make Blackburn's look like a wise contract by comparison.
    1. PMKI's Avatar
      PMKI -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      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?
      Well by that I am kind of assuming he wants to stay in Minnesota.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by PMKI View Post
      Well by that I am kind of assuming he wants to stay in Minnesota.
      I think the Twins would be much better served trying to sign him now while they have exclusive negoitating rights. Rather then get a couple C+ prospects and then having to compete and overpay potentially in the FA market.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I've never understood waiting to the deadline. If Pittsburgh had Frankie and Span the last month, how many more wins would they have? Isn't there more value in having them early? This risk aversion, and waiting, is an example of some pretty old school, not so strategic, thinking.
    1. tmerrickkeller's Avatar
      tmerrickkeller -
      This speaks to a larger issue, one that has been tangentially debated here and elsewhere....how do you decide what pieces to keep and what pieces to trade? Liriano might be our best chance for an ace, and cheaper than any other ace out there, but he's also our best trade bait. Willingham is signed to a friendly deal, but it's friendly to US as well as others, and having a masher for $7M/yr is good for any team, rebuilding or otherwise. The same arguments can be made for Span - he's on a team-friendly deal, so while he is good trade bait, he's also cheap and valuable to US. The long-term strategy is to keep all the valuable and inexpensive pieces, sign good contracts with young players to keep them valuable and inexpensive, and let the dead weight go and fill their shoes with new (not dead) weight. So if we could get anything for Pavano or Capps or Burton, you let them go because 2012 is done. Either you sign Liriano to a 2- or 3-year deal before the deadline, or you get what you can for him, because we aren't going to compete against everyone else in the free agent market at the end of the season, and (see above) 2012 is done. I'd also say that Morneau is in the same boat, but unless you can get something for him and not have to pay someone else to take him, then you keep him and let him go after next season (or trade him mid-season in 2013 if we're still this bad). So we end up keeping Mauer, Morneau, Plouffe, Carroll, Dozier, Willingham, Span, Doumit and Revere, try to lock up Frankie or trade him by the weekend, and hope for development of our young pitchers, or go spend a little on one or two free agents because Frankie, Capps, and Carl are gone, and our rotation is probably Blackburn, Diamond, Deduno, Walters and DeVries (which would give us money to spend on at least one higher-end FA pitcher). And I like that team's mix of speed, average, and power, especially if Morneau keeps improving, a decent bullpen. We'd need one or two starters, but if we can sign Frankie for 3/$27, I'd do it, and if we can sign Baker for $5, I'd do that, too.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      I've never understood waiting to the deadline. If Pittsburgh had Frankie and Span the last month, how many more wins would they have? Isn't there more value in having them early? This risk aversion, and waiting, is an example of some pretty old school, not so strategic, thinking.
      But that's the way negotiating works. I assure you: it isn't the Twins who want to wait. It's the other teams.

      One of the first lessons of negotiation is that "time" is a point of leverage, and it's usually the buyer that can use that leverage. There is a big incentive for the seller to sell right now, but there is usually very little reason for the buyer to want to buy right now. They have done without this thing for most of their life - what's another 48 hours?

      Yes, the team that wants Frankie, if they traded today, would get two extra starts, and that's not without value. But it's not worth overpaying for because they want to see if Hamels or Greinke or Sanchez or Garza might also be on the market. If those guys come on the market, the Twins will probably need to settle for a bit less than they are hoping for, but if they don't, then the Twins have several teams, some of whom are in competition with each other like the Braves and Nationals, battling it out for Frankie.

      At that point "value" becomes a very relative term. They aren't computing if he's worth 2 or 2.4 WAR over the rest of the season. They're looking at increasing their chances of the postseason or watching their competitor increase THEIR chances of the postseason. It becomes a "win or go home" scenario. Suddenly that high-upside guy in A ball seems very far away from helping the team. Maybe he is worth throwing into the package.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      But that's the way negotiating works. I assure you: it isn't the Twins who want to wait. It's the other teams.

      One of the first lessons of negotiation is that "time" is a point of leverage, and it's usually the buyer that can use that leverage. There is a big incentive for the seller to sell right now, but there is usually very little reason for the buyer to want to buy right now. They have done without this thing for most of their life - what's another 48 hours?

      Yes, the team that wants Frankie, if they traded today, would get two extra starts, and that's not without value. But it's not worth overpaying for because they want to see if Hamels or Greinke or Sanchez or Garza might also be on the market. If those guys come on the market, the Twins will probably need to settle for a bit less than they are hoping for, but if they don't, then the Twins have several teams, some of whom are in competition with each other like the Braves and Nationals, battling it out for Frankie.

      At that point "value" becomes a very relative term. They aren't computing if he's worth 2 or 2.4 WAR over the rest of the season. They're looking at increasing their chances of the postseason or watching their competitor increase THEIR chances of the postseason. It becomes a "win or go home" scenario. Suddenly that high-upside guy in A ball seems very far away from helping the team. Maybe he is worth throwing into the package.
      Yeah, it should also be noted that there have been plenty of trades that have taken place weeks before the deadline in the past.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      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.
      I don't think it's worth noting at all. I find it to be nothing more than a coincidence, and no amount of Dickbert's on-air anecdote-filled Butera slobberjobs is going to change that.
    1. amjgt's Avatar
      amjgt -
      Quote Originally Posted by DAM DC Twins Fans View Post
      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...
      At this point, you have to at least make the QO (if we don't trade him). I mean, even if he regresses a little for the rest of the year, he would have to turn down the 1 year / 12mil offer, right?

      I mean, he'd be looking at 3/35 or 4/45, so why would he even consider the 1/12 offer. So, if nothing else comes from this hot stretch from Frankie, he at least pitched well enough for us to make the 1/12 offer and have him turn it down. SO, at least we would get a sandwich pick out of it.

      Once he hits free agency, he's gone. Not because he doesn't like it here (maybe he does maybe he doesn't) but because there's going to be some team out there that is much less risk-averse than the Twins who will offer 2-3mil more per season or 1-2 years more than the Twins are willing to go.

      I'd like it if they made a 3/27 offer right now, before really shopping him. If he says no (which I would expect he would), then so be it and you explore your trade options, all the while having the QO compensation pick in the back of your mind to determine if a given offer gets you enough back for Liriano.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      John, this close, I agree. But why didn't Pittsburgh trade a month ago, and get 30 starts from Span, and 5-7 more from Liriano? That's a big difference in value. If a team starts of 20-5, why not go get 2 more good players, and protect your huge lead?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      John, this close, I agree. But why didn't Pittsburgh trade a month ago, and get 30 starts from Span, and 5-7 more from Liriano? That's a big difference in value. If a team starts of 20-5, why not go get 2 more good players, and protect your huge lead?
      cause it's a small sample size? and because everything is working, so why disrupt things? Because most teams 25 games in aren't necessarily ready to sell, and so you overpay even more? There's good reason to be risk adverse that early in the season
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by tmerrickkeller View Post
      This speaks to a larger issue, one that has been tangentially debated here and elsewhere....how do you decide what pieces to keep and what pieces to trade? Liriano might be our best chance for an ace, and cheaper than any other ace out there, but he's also our best trade bait. Willingham is signed to a friendly deal, but it's friendly to US as well as others, and having a masher for $7M/yr is good for any team, rebuilding or otherwise. The same arguments can be made for Span - he's on a team-friendly deal, so while he is good trade bait, he's also cheap and valuable to US. The long-term strategy is to keep all the valuable and inexpensive pieces, sign good contracts with young players to keep them valuable and inexpensive, and let the dead weight go and fill their shoes with new (not dead) weight. So if we could get anything for Pavano or Capps or Burton, you let them go because 2012 is done. Either you sign Liriano to a 2- or 3-year deal before the deadline, or you get what you can for him, because we aren't going to compete against everyone else in the free agent market at the end of the season, and (see above) 2012 is done. I'd also say that Morneau is in the same boat, but unless you can get something for him and not have to pay someone else to take him, then you keep him and let him go after next season (or trade him mid-season in 2013 if we're still this bad). So we end up keeping Mauer, Morneau, Plouffe, Carroll, Dozier, Willingham, Span, Doumit and Revere, try to lock up Frankie or trade him by the weekend, and hope for development of our young pitchers, or go spend a little on one or two free agents because Frankie, Capps, and Carl are gone, and our rotation is probably Blackburn, Diamond, Deduno, Walters and DeVries (which would give us money to spend on at least one higher-end FA pitcher). And I like that team's mix of speed, average, and power, especially if Morneau keeps improving, a decent bullpen. We'd need one or two starters, but if we can sign Frankie for 3/$27, I'd do it, and if we can sign Baker for $5, I'd do that, too.

      There's one big thing, what valuable asset can be replaced easier? You can argue that Span will be replaced sooner than later, whether that be by Revere now or by Hicks in a year or so, but Span is much more expendable to this team than anyone else. Willingham is a bit different. He's harder to replace now and there's less options to replace his production in the system.

      With Liriano, I wouldn't be surprised in the least if the Twins have tried to tie him up, but at this point he's not tied up and at this point there's no way he accepts a cheap deal, nor should he. He's going to be a commodity this offseason and if he wants to return here, there is no doubt they will sign him. But it is clearly in his best interest to wait it out that this point, and given history, it's in the Twins best interest to get something good for him... that could be a draft pick or a prospect. At this point, I'd bet a prospect or two as too many teams need what he is doing.
    1. edavis0308's Avatar
      edavis0308 -
      Looks like Dempster is going to the Braves. At first look, I would think it would hurt Liriano's trade value because there is one less suitor in on him. I am starting to think that it might actually benefit him because there is one less impactful arm on the market. Thoughts?
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Well the Cubs get Delgado, which is high price for Dempster, and encouraging news for setting the market for starting pitching. Liriano, please, pitch lights out tonight.
    1. PMKI's Avatar
      PMKI -
      Jim Bowden tweeted "Cubs not resting on their laurels continue trade discussions with Dodgers on deal that would send Matt Garza for package including Zach Lee"
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
      Well the Cubs get Delgado, which is high price for Dempster, and encouraging news for setting the market for starting pitching. Liriano, please, pitch lights out tonight.
      I would be disappointed in the return for Liriano if all they got was Randall Delgado.
    1. PseudoSABR's Avatar
      PseudoSABR -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      I would be disappointed in the return for Liriano if all they got was Randall Delgado.
      I'm not sure that's all they got. Delgado is already in the majors, so my thinking is if the Twins are willing to take someone not as close to the majors, they should be able to get someone with higher upside. I was worried that the compensation rules would devalue trading for impending FAs...

      But you've been advocating resigning Liriano (right?), so you value him a bit more than many of us do...
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      I would be disappointed in the return for Liriano if all they got was Randall Delgado.
      I haven't seen the kid pitch, but he's 22 with a career k/9 in the minors of 9.47 with a career BB/9 of 3.42. Those peripherals are pretty nice, even though they haven't translated to the big leagues... That seems like some pretty nice cost controlled upside. Woudl we be able to draft better with a compensation pick, because this seems like a pretty nice pickup for the Cubs.
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