With six pitchers vying for five spots in the Twins starting rotation, one possible solution is trading Francisco Liriano. Speaking to team officials recently, I’ve been surprised how open they are to this possibility, but the logic makes sense.
It’s from Joe Christensen’s story in the Star-Tribune, and given the Yankees current rotation, that paragraph has understandably sparked all sorts of speculation about the Yankees potential interest in the Twins’ starter.
Like Christensen said, the logic makes sense.
Being open to a trade, though, is not the same as pursuing a trade, and it’s certainly not the same as putting Liriano on the bargain rack. Small market teams occasionally have to trade a player like Liriano to keep the cycle of young talent flowing, and given Liriano’s reported asking price for an offseason extension, it makes sense for the Twins to at least consider the possibility.
That said, the Twins won the AL Central by six games last year — 13 games ahead of the third-place Tigers — and that was without Joe Nathan, and without Justin Morneau for much of the season. There’s no reason for the Twins to think they’re out of the hunt for 2011, and Liriano is still under team control through 2012.
The Twins don’t have to trade their best pitcher. They simply could trade him if the price is right. As long as he stays healthy — a concern for both the Twins and any potential trade partner — Liriano will still have considerable value in July, or in November, or next season.
That means Twins won’t necessarily push Liriano toward New York. The Yankees would have to lure him out of Minnesota. And he might very well be worth it. The Yankees almost certainly have a good enough farm system to make it happen, but as always, it’s a matter of value.
What would it take? And what is he worth?
Associated Press photo