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Report: Yankees keeping an eye on Francisco Liriano

Feb 26, 2011, 4:45 PM EDT

Francisco Liriano

Excuse me while I file this under most predictable trade rumor of all-time (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today):

The Yankees are keeping a close eye on Twins starter Francisco Liriano, while Twins are keeping tabs on Yanks prospects.

The trade winds began to blow earlier this month, when Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote that the Twins don’t plan to sign Liriano to a long-term deal and that they were open to exploring a trade. Speculation about the Yankees began almost immediately following Christensen’s report, so to hear that they have legitimate interest in the 27-year-old left-hander shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

While I can’t quite wrap my head around why the Twins would want to trade Liriano, who remains under team control through 2012, I wouldn’t blame them for looking for the best possible deal. Still, it would sting to see Liriano dealt to a team that has swept the Twins in consecutive postseasons.

  1. Jeremiah Graves - Feb 26, 2011 at 4:52 PM

    I’ll continue to keep my eye on Emily Blunt, let’s see which one of us gets what we want first…I’d like to think it’ll be a wash.

    • BC - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:14 PM

      Cool, you watch Emily Blunt, and I’ll keep my eyes on Drew Barrymore. We’ll compare notes sometime.

    • spudchukar - Feb 26, 2011 at 6:37 PM

      Liriano has a better chance of getting to First Base that you do with Emily Blunt, and he plays in a league with a DH.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 26, 2011 at 9:27 PM

        Very nice.

      • cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 2:00 AM


  2. BC - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:13 PM

    Mrs. Liriano had no comment on this story.

  3. uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:46 PM

    He would be a very welcome and much needed addition, who still has one arbitration year left (2012). A lefty who would be pitching in Yankee Stadium who didn’t give up a lot home runs.
    Not to sound greedy. Then if the Angels fall out of contention in the West they might look to unload Weaver (Boras’s client) OR Ervin Santana. Weaver can become a FA in 2013 and the Angels have a team option on Santana for the 2013 season. Weaver is the more likely candidate to be be cut lose by the Angels since it’s a well known fact there is no love lost between the Angels ownership and Boras and the chances of Weaver signing a long term deal with the Angels are slim and none.
    The trade deadline for the Angels could present the perfect storm for the Angels. Trade Weaver for prospects. Go after Pujols hot and heavy and then trade Morales for a bunch of prospects.
    I realize the chances of all this happening are remote but it’s nice to speculate and dream.

    • spudchukar - Feb 26, 2011 at 6:40 PM

      Would you be willing to give up Montero and Pena for Liriano?

      • uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 7:00 PM

        Pena – Yes , Montero – No, and I don’t think the Yankees would have to either. If they wanted a catcher I offer Romine.
        From my perspective the following Yankee prospects would be off limits for a Liriano trade: Any of the Killer B’s”, Noesi, Montero, Sanchez and Stoneburner. But that’s just my opinion.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 7:08 PM

        spudchukar – don’t be surprised if Montero breaks camp with the Yankees and heads north on the roster. Making Cervelli expendable. Just a guess on my part.

      • spudchukar - Feb 26, 2011 at 7:46 PM

        That makes sense to me too. Why keep a 3rd String catcher who can’t hit, when Montero could sub or pinch-hit. But I bet it would take more than just Pena to get Liriano, probably one of the killer B’s. Don’t think the Twins are that interested in a catcher though, or else they wouldn’t have moved Ramos.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 9:29 PM

        The Yankees might part with either RHP’ers Brett Marshall OR Jose Ramirez. But with Liriano’s having been on the DL and really only healthy for one year I doubt the Yankees would be willing to give up their “prized” prospects just yet. It’s going to take someone with a much better and healthier history to pry one of the top 10 prospects away from the Yankees as part of a package.
        Pena’s probably expendable along with one of the above. If that’s not enough, I’m sure there will be other options for the Yankees at the trade deadline if not sooner.

      • uberfatty - Feb 27, 2011 at 1:57 PM

        Think about it from the Twins side. Would you give up your top pitcher who ranked in the AL top 3 (I think?) in most of the fielding independent pitching stats last season, for a team’s second best catching prospect and maybe their 5th best pitching prospect? Remember, the Twins have this guy playing catcher already who my or may not be the best in the game.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 27, 2011 at 4:13 PM

        uberfatty – that’s a question you would have to ask the Twins. But I think you overstate Liriano as a pitcher. Don’t get me wrong he’s good, but the 3rd best pitcher in the AL? Who has only 1 year of pitching stats to fall back on, and who’s injury history should/would be a concern to any team. Even the Twins as it was reported apparently have their concerns…an have been reluctant in offering/signing him to a long term contract. Imagine if the team you are currently pitching for has those concerns, don’t you think other teams would as well?
        About you comment on the catching situation in the twin cities. I wouldn’t be so quick to discount the need for catching help for the Twins. While Mauer is unquestionably one of the best he also has some health issues. At 28 years old he has averaged only a little more then 100 games behind the plate in 3 out of the last 4 years. That means he missed nearly 38% of the games. Also, in the last 2 seasons he has missed about 25 games each year due to injuries. He still has 8 years at $23MM per on his contract with the Twins. The chances of him being behind the plate for even 80 plus games in say 3 years is probably pretty slim. In my opinion, and it’s just that, the Twins would be wise to think about grooming a replacement for him in the next couple of years. What better way to do that then have a catcher via a trade in their system that most “expects” expect to be outstanding ML’er in the next 2 or 3 years.

  4. Maxa - Feb 26, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Ugh. Please don’t be stupid about this, Bill Smith.

  5. spudchukar - Feb 26, 2011 at 6:39 PM

    Somehow the Twins seem to know something the rest of us do not.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 7:23 PM

      I’m not sure that’s the case. I’m tempted to think it’s more a matter of they have 2 very expensive long term deals with Morneau and Mauer ($15MM and $23MM respectively)…and they are not sure either one of these guys can man their positions for the length of their contracts. Then come 2012 according to baseball-reference the Twins payroll is estimated to hit approximately $130MM (30% more then 2010). Even with the additional revenue from Target field that’s a pretty good increase considering the question marks Morneau and Mauer present if they can’t man their respective positions because of “issues”.

      • spudchukar - Feb 26, 2011 at 7:54 PM

        I figure Mauer is probably okay for another 3-4 years, with a little more rest and some DH opportunities. They may be concerned about Morneau though. One more whack to the skull and he may be relegated to DH at the most. But both are slightly above average fielders, so it isn’t like they are liabilities. Even if you are correct about the finances, they hold the option on Liriano through 2012 so it isn’t as if they are pressured now. Maybe they feel the Yanks are desperate, and that their best chance to deal is now. But if they were perfectly happy with Liriano I don’t think they would be considering moving him.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 9:08 PM

        My friend, Liriano is more valuable to the Twins as a trading chip now then sometime during the 2012 season (trade deadline for a couple of reasons.
        First – The acquiring team would have control over Liriano for 2 full or near 2 full seasons if they trade him sometime soon.
        Second – there is a very good crop of starting pitchers that hit free agency after the 2012 season. Liriano won’t generate as much interest for the Twins if they wait until late in the 2012 season to try and move him.
        But those are just my opinions.

  6. Ari Collins - Feb 26, 2011 at 9:32 PM

    I know Yankee fans wouldn’t be happy to hear this, but Liriano would either cost Montero or two other top prospects (like Banuelos + Betances). Most likely, of course, no one wants to trade what the Twins want, and he stays in Minnesota for at least one more year.

    And before anyone suggests it: no, you cannot have him for a package centered around Joba and Cervelli.

    • Ari Collins - Feb 26, 2011 at 9:35 PM

      I should add that Montero is a poor fit for the Twins, so a pitching-rich package is more likely.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 10:12 PM

      Ari, I think you missed your calling. You should have been a GM or VP of Baseball Operations for a Major League team. You seem to have a unique talent for knowing what teams want and don’t want to make deals happen.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 26, 2011 at 10:29 PM

        I’m pretty sure you’re being sarcastic here. Imagine me giving you a Bronx cheer.

        Regardless, it’s easy to look at the packages the Rays got for Garza and the Royals got for Greinke and see that “Brett Marshall OR Jose Ramirez” is a laugher of a package for a Cy Young candidate, even one coming off his only healthy season.

        I understand that you want to keep your prospects. Those are some pretty awesome prospects the Yankees have! And I understand that you have concerns about Liriano’s health. But you can’t get something for nothing, and if the Twins really are looking to trade him, they’ll get a fair package from someone, given that Liriano’s fairly cheap the next two years.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 26, 2011 at 10:33 PM

        Agree with what I think you’re saying in general, though. If I were a Yankee fan, I’d want them to lowball the Twins too (though the package you brought up is an insult to lowball offers), because I wouldn’t want to give up the prospect package the Twins will get from someone (else( for a guy with such a checkered past. While a healthy Liriano is insanely talented, he’s only done it once, and less risky assets will become available.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 26, 2011 at 11:36 PM

        Guilty as charged. I was being sarcastic. I must confess I’m having trouble following what you posted in your last comment.
        Regardless, I’ll try and explain myself. If I’m the Yankees I’m not giving up the farm so to speak on what the record industry would call a “one hit wonder”. Is he good? Yes. Does he have the potential to be very good? Certainly. But there is also the possibility that injuries could come back to haunt him. Without a proven track track record and with other options certainly to exist sometime during the 2011 season and with a very good crop of starting pitchers that will be available at the 2012 trade deadline and/or the end of the 2012 season there is absolutely no reason to overpay for him.
        As for the comment about what Garza brought. Just because the Cubs were foolish enough to overpay (that’s my opinion) for Garza doesn’t mean the Yankees should do the same for Liriano. Besides, I honestly feel that before the end of this season Brackman will probably be on the ML roster and sometime during 2012 either Noesi or Banuelos will make the jump as well. Minimizing the need for the Yankees to “overpay” for pitching help. That’s just my opinion.

  7. spudchukar - Feb 27, 2011 at 12:25 AM

    Ari & UYF, All valid points. Just don’t see the Twins flipping Liriano unless they get what they want. At some point the Yanks may come to the conclusion that protecting all of their youth is overkill, and be willing to part with 2 prospects because they have so many riches.

    • uyf1950 - Feb 27, 2011 at 7:12 AM

      spudchukar – they may “at some point”. I just can’t imagine it being for Liriano until he has at least one more season injury free. But I could be wrong. I’d rather see them give up one and a catching prospect (Romine) to the Angels for Weaver. He would only be 29 at the end of the 2011 season hasn’t had any health issues and has improved each of the last 3 seasons to where he was 5th in the 2010 CY voting.
      I’ll also indulge the 2 posters below. Who I guess have King Felix as their only source of pride in the Pacific NW baseball. Contrary to what every Seattle fan seems to think including our friend (Reflex). I can imagine King Felix leaving Seattle not in 2011 but in 2012 and if not going to the Yankees going to a team that offers him a chance to win. Which by the way Seattle isn’t doing. And they haven’t shown any interest in spending any of that so called money they have to build a winner. So in 2012, Seattle still mired in mediocrity and Felix’s salary at $20MM per for the next few years will be moved. Either by choice or through a demand of Felix’s, ala Greinke. Of course I will add the usual caveat this is all speculation on my part and just my opinion.

      • Ari Collins - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:20 AM

        I would not be rooting for getting Weaver if I were you. He’s one of the most extreme flyballers around, and as a flyballing righthander he is ill-suited for NYS.

    • Ari Collins - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:12 AM

      What he said. Prospects are for improving your club, and if you’re not going to improve your club by using them, you might as well trade them. The Yankees have the pitching prospect depth to trade a couple away for the major league arm they need.

      Whether that’s Liriano or not remains to be seen, but he’s definitely the best arm that’s been even slightly rumored to be on the block.

      • uyf1950 - Feb 27, 2011 at 11:02 AM

        I don’t disagree with what prospects should be used for. In my opinion I honestly feel at least 2 of the “Killer B’s” have the potential to really help the Yankees rotation. Brackman I can see on the Yankee roster by the trade deadline if not sooner. Helping the back of the rotation, eventually settling in as a solid #3. I also see huge potential for Banuelos being on the roster in 2012 and eventually being a very sold #2 even a #1 with time. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against the Yankees using any of the “others” I just want to see Liriano do it for more then 1 season before I would commit to trading a prized prospect. Cashman and the Yankees may view it completely differently, though. If the Yankees are convinced Liriano is the man and the Twins do indeed want to move him I’m sure a deal could be worked out. But as of today I don’t think Liriano is worth 2 top tier prospects. In 3 or 4 months that could very well change. That’s just my opinion.
        Just one more personal observation about the Yankees starting rotation or should I say future starting rotation. Cal it be optimistic or wishful thinking if you like. But I can honestly see the Yankees having one of the strongest starting rotations in the AL by the 2012 trade deadline. With CC (even assuming he opts out the Yankees will re-sign him), Hughes, Liriano or some other strong #2, Brackman, Banuelos and Noesi competing of the final 2 spots. With the following pitchers being used to trade (Betances, Nova, Warren and Ramirez) as well as catcher Romine.

  8. mashoaf - Feb 27, 2011 at 2:30 AM

    Still waiting for the first Felix Hernandez to the Yankees trade rumors to happen.

    • marinersnate - Feb 27, 2011 at 3:43 AM

      Good luck with that. I am sure Seattle will take a couple B level prospects for him (see above). Oh, plus Joba. Seems a fair deal.

      I see it happening.

  9. diditforthelulz1 - Feb 27, 2011 at 3:17 AM

    Report: Water is wet. Thanks for the flabbergasting report guys.

  10. Ari Collins - Feb 27, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    User “nolan” on FanGraphs summed the Twins’ position on this for me:

    “Personally, I think the Twins should trade for Liriano. They need a number one starter, and he’s under team control for two more years. With Mauer and Morneau in their primes, I’d have to think that Minnesota at least will wonder what the asking price is.”

  11. blippy2406 - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:14 PM

    I’d love to get liriano to beef up our rotation, but there is no way we can part with montero, plus why would the twins want him? Don’t they have some Mauer guy?

  12. rapmusicmademedoit - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:29 PM

    Yo Short-y, even if the Yankees don’t trade for Liriano
    my team team will beat your your team, again.

  13. retief1954 - Feb 27, 2011 at 5:54 PM

    Why does ANYONE talk trade with the Yankees? They have their own, exclusive system for obtaining their players. The name of the exclusive system is UNLIMITED MONEY TO SPEND ON FREE AGENTS, and no other team has it. I’m the Twins, the Yankees just beat my brains out in the ALDS, and I’m going to talk to them about how they can obtain one of my rotation stalwarts, because they don’t have an all-star in every rotation slot? I don’t THINK so.
    Baseball fans, for once we have the opportunity and pleasure of watching the Yankees try and “get by” without something they sorely need. This is something that EVERY MLB team has to contend with every year, except the Yankees. Why would any team want to rush in and help them? It’s not like the Twins would get equal value in return for their #1. (I’m a Mariners’ fan, and I still remember the M’s giving them Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson in exchange for those HOF’ers Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock.) Let the Yankees scuffle around like every other team for once. Watching them and their fans squirm, first after losing out on Cliff Lee, and now watching them desperately thrashing around in search of another starter, is almost as much fun as watching them get eliminated by better teams in the playoffs. Let’s hope it continues.

    • cur68 - Feb 27, 2011 at 9:24 PM

      You and everyone else who isn’t in pin stripes are thrilled with the Evil Empire finally having to develop some talent, play some actual intelligent baseball, and use sound management in order to get by, just like everyone else. Can’t buy that stuff. Gotta warn you though; easy on the teasing of some of these folks, even a little. One needs to taste the ashes of a losing season in living memory to remember to be humble and accept a little mediocrity and those that will point it out. The privileged one, born with the silver spoon and supping at the table (trough) of the Steinbrenner, will not be an easy or tolerant conversationalist. Rather they shall go coldly into into the night, strewing the path with thorns and jabs at best, and reminding us all of the days when they were great & we were scum (or just worse than they were). Place your feet carefully and remember to be kind when the time comes. Prediction time (based on the rising and falling of my own bent rhythms); This is shaping up to be a season where even the Baltimore Orioles have a chance to not finish in the cellar, the Blue Jays will creep over 85 wins and the Yankers may not even make the playoffs. Team to beat AL East; Sox. Wild card; Rays. Best chance of an upset for either spot; Jays. Dark horse: Orioles. Butt of chubby jokes for 2011 season; Yankers. So sayeth the spirits of the wind when we cast the bones and asked the gods of monkeys and men to tell us of what will come.

  14. uyf1950 - Feb 27, 2011 at 6:23 PM

    I sense a little resentment on your part. It’s probably a carryover from the Yankees beating the Mariners in the 2001 ALCS after they the Mariners tied the AL record for most wins in the the regular season that year.

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