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Francisco Liriano is "throwing the living fire out of the ball"

Jan 5, 2010, 9:25 AM EDT

And with this quote from Ron Gardenhire about Francisco Liriano, we officially begin to transition from the hot stove season to the “Player X is in the best shape of his life” season:

“I just got a report that
he’s throwing the living fire out of the ball down in the Dominican
(Republic). He threw eight innings the other
day, and his fastball was 92 to 94 (mph) and his slider was filthy.
That’s a really good thing, because he can be the bonus if we can get
him on track.”

I hope Gardenhire is right, because I like Liriano and want to be optimistic about him.

But let’s make no mistake: just like the hot stove season, the “best shape of his life” season is about 71% baloney and 23% wishful thinking (6% of the time a player is actually in the best shape of his life; you can look it up).

The only difference is that we know most trade and free agent rumors are baloney or wishful thinking within a day or two. When someone talks about how great an injured, old and/or washed-up player looks during the offseason, we don’t realize it’s hooey, hope or both until April.

  1. ecp - Jan 5, 2010 at 10:15 AM

    Gee, just when we thought we had learned from Matt Capps that it was better for players NOT to be in the best shape of their lives at the beginning of the season, Ron Gardenhire comes along and bursts everyone’s bubble.

  2. Bill@TDS - Jan 5, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    To be fair, “he’s throwing 94” is a bit more concrete and meaningful than “he’s in the best shape of his life.” But it feels good to get that “he’s in the best shape of his life” season started. :)
    Between that (if true) and the fact that his numbers say he wasn’t really as bad as he looked last season anyway, we could be in for a nice surprise with Liriano. It’s hard not to be skeptical after how completely lost and useless he looked most of the time last year, though.

  3. dave nystuen - Jan 5, 2010 at 10:57 AM

    Gardenhire wouldn’t know, he’s to busy chewing his gum or seeds.

  4. Ari Collins - Jan 5, 2010 at 11:14 AM

    That’s 102%. :) Also, don’t forget that, besides “being in the best shape of their lives,” we’re going to hear a lot about who is experimenting with a new pitch that could change their game completely, who has adjusted their swing to make more contact / hit for more power (whichever they didn’t do last year), and, further on, all about where someone’s home run power or fastball has disappeared to, all based on spring training statistics. Spring Training is truly the “silly season”.

  5. Old Gator - Jan 5, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    Craig, here’s a great scenario: if Oscar Wilde were a baseball fan, he could rewrite The Portrait of Dorian Gray wherein Dorian is a baseball player who is consistently in “the best shape of his career” because his Strat-O-Matic card hidden in a padlocked trunk in the attic keeps getting yellower, more dog-eared, damper, moldier and manifests little tears around the edges ever time Dorian is injured or drinks too much absinthe. One could go so far as to imagine the card crumpling up as Dorian withdraws from steroids. Let me think on this a little longer; there must be a way to write Boras and Marge Schott into this remake.

  6. Moses Green - Jan 5, 2010 at 11:43 AM

    C’mon Craig, can’t you let Aaron be happy just for a minute with Gardy’s thirdhand report of what he heard from someone who heard it from an overseas scout?

  7. Andrew A. Sailer - Jan 12, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Our little guy has been a mess lately, so we’ve taken him to do some dog training and so far have been gratified to save our furniture as is! Does anyone else have some experience with a 2 year old domestic dog acting like a one month old?! I prize the help.

  8. Alex Ramos - Jan 29, 2010 at 5:43 PM

    Put a Detroit Tiger uniform on your little guy and he will immediately start peeing down his leg.

  9. Honeywell Oil Heater - Jan 31, 2010 at 12:01 AM

    I really enjoy reading the articles on this blog. I’ll bookmark this so I can read more later.

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