Grade That Trade! Francisco Liriano Edition
The Twins have had enough of Francisco Liriano. The starter has been arguably the biggest Jeckyl and Hyde pitcher in the Majors. He’s been marvelous at times with a 12-3 record and 2.13 ERA in 2006 or the no-hitter in 2011. He’s been down right awful at times with a 12-20 record and a 5.18 ERA over the past two seasons. It’s the latter that finally caused the Twins to cut bait instead of hoping Liriano would return to his former self.
The White Sox were looking for another starter in the rotation as Cy Young candidate Chris Sale is battling fatigue. Honestly though, you can never have enough starting pitching, just ask the Yankees. It was shocking that the Twins traded Liriano in their own division, but maybe that shows how little they thought of Liriano now. They think that he can’t hurt them.
The Twins picked up two prospects in the deal with infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Pedro Hernandez. 23 year-old Escobar was called up by Chicago this season and has hit only .207 in 87 at-bats. Escobar’s value is in his fielding where scouts have him rated as having above-average range and a fantastic arm. Escobar was the 8th ranked prospect in the White Sox system coming into 2012 by Prospect Corner and 7th by ESPN prospects guru Kevin Goldstein. He will battle Brian Dozier to be the Twins shortstop of the future. Hernandez is also 23, but the lesser of the two prospects. Hernandez got rocked in his 1st start in the Majors giving up 8 earned runs over 4 innings at the Red Sox, but has been good in the minors this season going 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA over 85.2 IP in AA and AAA.
The key to this deal though is if Liriano just needs a change of scenery to rekindle his former magic. Liriano has shown that he can still strike batters out with a great 9.8 K/9 this season, but with that comes the wildness. The past two seasons have been the worst for Liriano’s control as he has given up 5.0 BB/9, that stat has been the biggest in contributing to Liriano’s woes the past two years. It will be an interesting project for White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper to try and be the one to fix Francisco Liriano.
The way I’m seeing the trade presented right now, I think the Twins got the better end.
-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)