Francisco Liriano Rumors
- Talks between the Twins and Francisco Liriano have gone "backwards" according to LaVelle E. Neal III of The Star Tribune (on Twitter). The two sides had been discussing a reunion earlier this offseason.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports looked at two trade scenarios for the Mets involving R.A. Dickey. One featured the Rangers while the other featured the Blue Jays.
- Agent Craig Landis told Peter Gammons of MLB.com (via Twitter) that he figures client Ryan Dempster will get a three-year deal once Greinke signs. Landis added that the pitcher would prefer to pitch in the National League with a team that has spring training in Arizona.
- Michael Young's relationship with the Rangers' front office wasn't in great shape, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. Young got $1.2MM in benefits from Texas in exchange for waiving his no-trade clause.
- The first few weeks of the offseason have been really important for the Twins as they are 100% committed to rebuilding their pitching, tweets Buster Olney of ESPN.com.
- Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reviewed Skip Schumaker's tenure in St. Louis. Strauss writes that the second baseman/outfielder's tenure with the Cardinals is likely through as GM John Mozeliak recently admitted that he is a trade candidate. The Dodgers and Twins are among the teams that are interested in Schumaker.
Mike Axisa contributed to this post.
10:42am: In addition to the pitchers listed below, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter link) identifies Edwin Jackson, Shaun Marcum, Brandon McCarthy, Jair Jurrjens, and Carl Pavano as potential targets for the Twins. Pavano is said to be drawing interest from five teams, including the Red Sox, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
9:52am: As they look to shore up their starting rotation, the Twins have offers out to Joe Saunders and Francisco Liriano, according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The Twins are waiting to hear back from the two left-handers and may have offers out to other pitchers, says Neal.
According to Neal, there are seven other teams that also have interest in Liriano.
Here's the latest on the Twins, courtesy of ESPN 1500's Darren Wolfson...
- "No. Obviously I love playing here. I love the city. I love the people. Hopefully it doesn't become a distraction," said Justin Morneau when asked if the team has approached his agent about an extension. The slugger can become a free agent next offseason, and he said he hopes to remain with the Twins through 2013.
- The Twins have touched base with approximately 20 free agent pitchers so far, though a source downplayed their interest in a reunion with Francisco Liriano.
- "Look for an active (Winter Meetings)," said one of Wolfson's sources. There's a belief Denard Span could be traded.
- Carl Pavano's representatives will meet with the Twins during the Winter Meetings in Nashville next week. The right-hander's shoulder was cleared by doctors recently.
- The Twins are looking for a third baseman. They could shift Trevor Plouffe to the outfield or find a left-handed hitting platoon partner.
The Twins have had conversations with Francisco Liriano's representatives, a source with knowledge of the talks tells LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune. The two sides are expected to meet next week during the winter meetings but General Manager Terry Ryan is keeping mum on potential targets for the club. Here's more Tuesday night linkage..
- The Rangers did not meet with Mike Napoli today, despite previous reports to the contrary, according to Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. However, the club is set to meet with the catcher tomorrow. Earlier today it was reported that Napoli appears to be the Red Sox's top free agent target.
- Ken Davidoff of the New York Post (Twitter links) reached out to David Wright after his comments earlier tonight to MLBTradeRumors. The third baseman indicated that he was displeased with the public nature of his contract negotiations. "I wish I could elaborate but it was important to me from the very beginning that these negotiations remain confidential and private. I plan on sticking to that. Sorry I can't comment any further," said Wright.
- The Royals have discussed Wil Myers in trades for Rays right-hander James Shields and Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports points out that the two hurlers aren't exactly equal. The two are owed similar money through 2014 ($24.625MM for Lester and $21MM for Shields) but Shields has been much stronger in recent years.
Two of the biggest (yet most intriguing) question marks available on this year's free agent pitching market are Francisco Liriano and Brandon McCarthy. Both are 29 and were once seen as top prospects, and while both have dealt with injuries and inconsistency through their careers, it's Liriano who is struggling to regain his form while McCarthy is simply trying to get healthy enough to get back on the field.
Few pitchers are as electric as Liriano when he's on his game, though he's only really harnessed that ability over a full season in 2006 and 2010. It seemed as if that 2010 year signalled that Liriano was all the way back from Tommy John surgery and would now become an anchor in the Twins rotation, except things went south from there. Liriano posted a 5.23 ERA over 60 games (52 starts) in 2010-11, still striking out close to a batter per inning but also posting a 5.0 BB/9 rate. Perhaps there was no better summation of Liriano's potential than his May 3, 2011 start against the White Sox, when he walked six batters and only struck out two -- yet still managed to no-hit Chicago.
The raw material is there for Liriano to become an ace and that's why, despite posting ERAs north of 5.00 in three of the last four seasons, it's possible that he could find a two-year contract on the open market (or at least a one-year contract with a generous option for 2014). Being left-handed helps, but the belief still exists that the right situation or right pitching coach could flip the switch on Liriano and make him a top-of-the-rotation starter.
McCarthy's life, let alone his baseball career, was threatened on September 5 when a line drive from Erick Aybar struck the right-hander in the head. After undergoing surgery to relieve cranial pressure on his damaged skull and brain areas, the great news is that McCarthy is recovered (and tweeting) and has been cleared to do his regular offseason training work. While a freak incident, the head injury was just the latest in a series of maladies that has plagued McCarthy throughout his career, such as elbow problems and a stress fracture in his throwing shoulder.
While McCarthy is not yet free of the injury bug, he at least has delivered strong results when he's been on the mound. The righty has a 3.29 ERA and a 4:1 K:BB ratio in 43 starters in Oakland, finally delivering on the potential he showed as a prospect in the White Sox system. McCarthy overhauled his pitching mechanics before the 2011 season and turned himself into a pitcher who relies on grounders (a 46.7% groundball rate in 2011) and command --- he has a 1.6 BB/9 in 2011-12, less than half of the 3.4 BB/9 he posted over his first five seasons. While his ERA was a run lower at the pitcher-friendly Coliseum than it was on the road, McCarthy's skillset should translate well to most ballparks.
If we were judging these two pitchers based purely on recent results, McCarthy is easily the better choice; had Aybar not hit that liner, this wouldn't even be a valid comparison, as McCarthy would've been in line for a three- or four-year contract. That being said, McCarthy's injury history can't be ignored, which is part of the reason why MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Liriano higher than McCarthy (#28 to #32) on his list of the top 50 free agents of the offseason. A power arm will always carry that extra bit of allure, especially an arm like Liriano's that has shown occasional greatness.
Both pitchers are being courted by several teams, from big-market clubs looking for back-end rotation help to smaller-market teams hoping to find an ace at a relative bargain price.
The White Sox have signaled to Jake Peavy that they’re unlikely to exercise their $22MM club option for 2013, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. Instead, the team is expected to pay a $4MM buyout in a move that would make Peavy a free agent.
The White Sox might try to re-sign Peavy after declining the option, but it seems likely he’ll reach the free agent market. Peavy enjoys playing for the White Sox and would like to return, agent Barry Axelrod told Heyman. The right-hander prefers manager Robin Ventura to former manager Ozzie Guillen and appears to have favorable feelings about the White Sox, Heyman reports.
Peavy could be the second best free agent starting pitcher behind Zack Greinke this offseason (FanGraphs' version of wins above replacement suggests as much). Peavy, 31, has a 3.26 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 36.8% ground ball rate in 198 2/3 innings this year. The shoulder problems that limited him to approximately 100 innings per season from 2009-11 no longer appear to be holding him back.
The White Sox could raise payroll for 2013, especially if they make the playoffs. However, they aren’t currently discussing new contracts with prospective free agents A.J. Pierzynski, Brett Myers, Francisco Liriano and Kevin Youkilis, Heyman reports.
Before the season, we identified 11 players who were entering "make or break" years. These guys had experienced ups and downs in their respective careers and were positioned to re-establish themselves as difference makers at the Major League level and set themselves up for nice paydays in the future. Now that we're into August, let's take a second to check in each player (all links go to MLBTR posts)...
- Scott Baker, Twins -- Baker, 30, had elbow surgery in April and will miss the entire season. Minnesota will likely decline his $9.25MM option for 2013 (no buyout).
- Phil Hughes, Yankees -- The 26-year-old right-hander owns a 4.10 ERA in 131 2/3 innings this year, including a 3.40 ERA since mid-May. He's a safe bet to be tendered a contract for 2014, his final year as a arbitration-eligible player.
- Jair Jurrjens, Braves -- Jurrjens, 26, pitched so poorly earlier in the season that he had to be sent to the minors. He's since resurfaced and owns 6.89 ERA in 48 1/3 innings, cementing his status as a non-tender candidate.
- Adam Lind, Blue Jays -- Lind has battled back problems and also been demoted to Triple-A this season, and he's hit .227/.298/.394 while with the big league team. The 29-year-old continues to disappoint since signing his four-year, $18MM extension prior to 2010.
- Francisco Liriano, White Sox -- It's been another up and down season for the 28-year-old southpaw, who owns a 5.03 ERA in 111 innings. The Twins traded Liriano to the ChiSox at the deadline.
- James Loney, Dodgers -- Loney, now 28, hasn't helped himself at all this season, hitting just .251/.301/.330 in 327 plate appearances. He might have to settle for a minor league contract this coming offseason.
- Kendrys Morales, Angels -- The 29-year-old is hitting .282/.327/.455 with 14 homers on the year, well below the level he established prior to his leg injury in 2010. Morales figures to be both a trade and non-tender candidate after the season.
- Mike Pelfrey, Mets -- Pelfrey pitched to a 2.29 ERA in three starts before needing Tommy John surgery. The Mets are expected to non-tender the 28-year-old after the season.
- Geovany Soto, Rangers -- The 29-year-old backstop has continued to deal with injuries in 2012 and is hitting just .201/.289/.356. Soto is an obvious non-tender candidate.
- Kevin Youkilis, White Sox -- Youkilis lost his starting job with the Red Sox and was traded to the White Sox, who are likely to decline his $13MM option after the season. The 33-year-old has dealt with nagging injuries and is hitting .238/.339/.427 overall.
- Delmon Young, Tigers -- Young, 26, has had a below-average season at the plate (.266/.298/.402) and has dealt with some off-field problems. He hasn't helped his free agent stock any.
Here's the latest from both Windy City teams....
- The Cubs are "looking into what it would take to acquire" Derek Lowe, reports Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Lowe has a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts this season and was designated for assignment by the Indians two days ago. The Orioles and Red Sox have also been mentioned as possible suitors for Lowe, though the Red Sox haven't been in contact with the Indians about Lowe, according to WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
- Also from Wittenmyer's piece, Cubs president Theo Epstein said Alfonso Soriano had one semi-legitimate suitor before the trade deadline. ‘‘There were a few nibbles, and there was one match of a team that had expressed interest and a place that he would go,’’ Epstein said. ‘‘But they ended up never making an actual offer and addressing their needs somewhere else.’’ This team could possibly be the Dodgers, who were known to have an interest in Soriano before acquiring Shane Victorino from the Phillies.
- White Sox general manager Kenny Williams tells reporters (including MLB.com's Scott Merkin) that he plans to monitor the waiver wire, though "we don't have a lot of positions where if you claim somebody they're going to come in and play."
- Francisco Liriano ended up being Williams' biggest acquisition in the days before the trade deadline and the GM thinks Liriano will thrive under pitching coach Don Cooper. "While there might be some other guys out there who were available, I just felt that Liriano's one that all he really has to do is be in the strike zone on a more consistent basis," Williams said.
The Red Sox are in extra innings against the Yankees as they try to get back to .500. Currently 50-51, Boston is 4.5 games back from a wild card spot. Here are the latest off-the-field rumblings...
- The Red Sox have explored the possibility of trading Josh Beckett, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. One general manager told Heyman it's "unlikely" that a team would take on Beckett, who would have to waive his 10-and-5 rights to facilitate a deal. As Heyman points out, however, Beckett's mediocre numbers and large contract make it likely that he'd clear waivers and be eligible for an August trade.
- One Major League executive insisted to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com that the Red Sox are "trying to dump" Beckett but it's unlikely they'd be able to find a taker without a big discount.
- Edes writes that the Red Sox aren't willing to part with the type of prospects they would need to surrender in order to acquire Josh Johnson from the Marlins.
- Edes also hears that the Red Sox are shopping Ryan Sweeney.
- The Red Sox were in on Francisco Liriano all the way to the end before the Twins dealt him to the White Sox, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.
The White Sox tried hard to land Zack Greinke before he went to the Angels, so they instead turned to a familiar foe to shore up the rotation. The team announced that they have acquired Francisco Liriano from the Twins for infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-hander Pedro Hernandez.
Liriano, 28, has been a prominent member of the trade rumor circuit for several years now. He's eligible for free agency after the season and is owed approximately $2.1MM for the remainder of the year. Injuries and inconsistency have dogged the left-hander throughout his career, and this year he's pitched to a 5.31 ERA in exactly 100 innings.
The Twins originally acquired Liriano from the Giants as a minor leaguer as part of the A.J. Pierzynski-Joe Nathan swap back in 2003. He placed third in the Rookie of the Year voting in 2006 and earned Cy Young Award votes in 2010, but he's pitched to a 5.18 ERA in 234 1/3 innings since. Liriano went from the rotation to the bullpen and back to the rotation this year, posting a 3.68 ERA in 11 starts since becoming a starter again.
The White Sox are adding one of the game's premier strikeout pitchers to their staff with the trade. Even during his down years, Liriano has always missed bats and he owns a 9.8 K/9 this season. Walks are an issue however, especially of late. Over the last two years he's walked five hitters for every nine innings pitched. He figures to join Chris Sale and Jose Quintana to make three lefties in the ChiSox rotation.
Escobar, 23, has hit .202/.276/.247 in 99 plate appearances over the last two seasons while playing second, third, short, and left field. He's a .270/.315/.351 career hitter in the minors, and before the season Baseball America ranked him as Chicago's tenth best prospect in their Prospect Handbook. "While Escobar has quick hands at the plate, he has yet to develop the strength or discipline to be an effective hitter," wrote the publication.
Hernandez, 23, allowed eight runs in four innings in his first career big league start earlier this season. He's pitched to a 2.94 ERA in 85 2/3 innings split between Double-A and Triple-A this year. Baseball America did not consider him one of the team's top 30 prospects coming into 2012. Both Hernandez and Escobar have been assigned to Triple-A Rochester, the Twins announced. A corresponding 40-man roster move will be made tomorrow.
Photo courtesy of US Presswire.