Extension Candidate: Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano can be an inspiration to Stephen Strasburg, if the Nationals phenom has patience.  Liriano took the American League by storm for 121 innings in 2006, but went down for Tommy John surgery in November of that year.  In 2010, Liriano is again considered one of the best pitchers in the league. 

The Minnesota lefty was handled cautiously in '08, as Strasburg probably will be in 2012.  Three rough starts in April of '08 earned Liriano an extended stay in Triple A, long enough to prompt his agent Greg Genske to have the players union investigate potential service time manipulation.  Had Liriano spent all of '08 in the bigs, he'd have about 100 extra days of service time and would have been eligible for arbitration after that season and for free agency after the 2011 season.  An extra month or so in the Majors in '08 would've made Liriano eligible for arbitration for '09 as a Super Two.

Instead, 2011 will be Liriano's second arbitration year and he'll be eligible for free agency after '12.  Liriano will be 29 heading into the 2012-13 offseason, and could earn a massive free agent contract.  If there's any lingering bad blood from '08, you have to wonder if he'll continue going year-to-year.

On the other hand, Liriano could seek the security of an extension this winter in the Zack Greinke/Josh Johnson model. Greinke and Johnson were coming off low first-year arbitration salaries a touch below Liriano's current $1.6MM due to similar bumps in the road.  They signed for four years and $38-39MM.

16 Responses to Extension Candidate: Francisco Liriano Leave a Reply

  1. moonraker45 5 years ago

    With the arm already being operated on, I’d go for the security. Sure if he keeps up his success he’ll end up losing money in the long run, but a nice 30 mill contract will set him and his family up for life.

    • wild05fan 5 years ago

      Definitely. It’s a solid offer anyway for him after how terrible it went last year. A lot of people were wondering if he’d ever come close to what he was in ’06. He sure has answered those questions pretty quick.

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        He was very poor in his rookie debut (’05), stellar in his first full (injury shortened) season (’06), was average when he finally came up out of AAA in 2008, was pretty worthless last year, and has been doing his best work since ’05 this year.

        I’m far from convinced he’s answered all the questions…

        • A DUI from 5+ years ago. Are you serious? It took him a while to recover, but he’s pitched great. What more do you want?

          • TwinsVet 5 years ago

            More consistency than pitching well for 4 months at a time?

    • Dave_Gershman 5 years ago

      But he definetly deserves to be locked up either way. Talk about one of the best pitchers in Baseball this season, and his slider is number 1 in the league. Good thinking moonraker.

  2. TwinsVet 5 years ago

    I’m not so sure the Twins offer an extension, even if he is willing. He’s been up and down in the past, and it took him quite a while to come back up after TJ. He got a DUI in his rookie spring break, and seems to be a poor attitude ever since. The nastiness of the Super-Two grievance still seems to linger, and the Twins put “character” atop their checklist when considering contracts.

    I think there’s a good chance they ride him year-to-year, and ship him off if they aren’t in contention in 2011-12.

    • mauerfan 5 years ago

      Where have you read about his bad attitude? You can’t really take anything outta 05, he only played in 6 games so that isn’t really his “rookie yer” per se and you can’t take much out of it. 1 bad season, 1 ok half season and 2 great seasons, I don’t know what you’re worried about.

      • TwinsVet 5 years ago

        It’s the feeling you get watching every game for the past 10 years.

        You never see him smiling, laughing, joking with the other players. He drives into the ballpark in a Ferrari or Porsche (Guerrier says he has the nicest cars of anyone on the team, and it seems like a different one every week), and is typically the last to arrive and first to leave.

        He tried pitching in ’06 after injury, because he wasn’t straight forward with the training staff. He was criticized by that same training staff the following year for not adhering to his recovery program (surprise surprise, it took him almost 2 years to really come back from an injury that should have set him back one). He went nuts (via agent) when the Twins held him in AAA.

        I’m not saying he’s a cancer by any means – just that there’s enough there to make a club that places a premium on attitude and character think twice about giving him an extension instead of trading him for useful parts.

    • mauerfan 5 years ago

      Oh and the Twins should be in contention for at least 6 years w/ how deep our farm system is.

  3. AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

    Either the Twins will low ball him with a 1 year/$4MM offer and see if he can put up great numbers two years in a row or they’ll low ball him with a 3 year/$17MM offer, if we’re talking next year’s contract. If he equals this year or improves even marginally he could be in line for a 3 year/$36MM deal, maybe better.

    • bjsguess 5 years ago

      I can almost guarantee that if they offer a 1/$4m deal in arb they will lose.

      • AmericanMovieFan 5 years ago

        how sure are you about that? With his injury history and such a low figure this year from arbitration it seems like everybody wants to be cautious, particularly with his paycheck because if it balloons too high and he re-injures himself…MAYBE he gets $5MM.

  4. scottz0113 5 years ago

    I think they will offer an extension. Remember, this isn’t the Metrodome Twins anymore…they’ve got a pretty good source of income with Target Field, and signing Liriano for 3-4 years at a fair price seems very much in line with how these new Twins might operate. And Liriano could get some security with a 3 year deal and still get a nice big free agent contract after those 3 years are over, given his still relatively young age. Win for both sides.

  5. jwredsox 5 years ago

    I love this guy. Twins would be making a mistake not to extend this guy. He has legitimate Ace stuff with a K/9 of 9.72, vastly improved control with a BB/9 of 2.90, a top notch GB% of 53.8%, and a 3.41 ERA when the guy is unlucky. He has BABIP of .346 and a LOB% of 72.6 which is pretty unlucky. And even with that high BABIP opponents are only hitting .250. All this to give him an FIP of 2.31 which is incredible. A pitcher that any team would want for the next 3 years+.

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