NEW YORK — The thought was laughable at best a few weeks ago, but now the possibility that Twin’s ace Francisco Liriano gets traded just became very real. It has been reported by multiple sources that the New York Yankees have given the Twin’s a call about Liriano, who is eligible for free agency in 2012. Despite the fact Liriano is considered the Twin’s ace, Minnesota is deep in starting pitching and could sell to the highest bidder.
That bidder will most likely be the New York Yankees.
The Yankees, who usually get what they want, have been snubbed on all possible free agent options at starting pitching; a position they are in severe need of depth and help.
The most likely option the Yankee’s sought after was Cliff Lee, and like every other year, the Bombers thought they had Lee in their back pocket. Lee pulled the ultimate twist ending and signed back with the Phillies instead of New York or Texas. Next on their list was Carl Pavano who ultimately decided not to return to his team twice removed and instead resign with his most current team, the Twins.
“Nobody’s available. Nobody of value, anyway.” said Yankee’s GM Brian Cashman.
Some sources have stated that a trade between the two teams will be made within two weeks time. This is most likely not going to be the case, however there is logic in making that prediction.
The Yankees are going to want to have their rotation set and feel confident in it by the end of Spring Training. Having Liriano and CC Sabathia back-to-back in the rotation would give New York some comfort.
Reps from the Twins are saying Liriano is not available for a trade right now, but didn’t specifically say whether or not they would entertain the idea towards the end of Spring Training. Cashman and the Yankees are also saying there has been no talks between the two ball-clubs about the ace.
But if a trade isn’t made before the beginning of the season, don’t rule out the possibility of it happening in-season. This already sounds like the ideal story to bring down to the wire at the July Trade Deadline, as every year there is one big pitcher who is in the mix to get traded.
This year, that could be Liriano.
The Twins would have a very good grasp on what they have in terms of rotation depth by then, and have a feel for how confident they are in said rotation moving forward towards a playoff push. Without Liriano, the Twins rotation would be (in no order): Carl Pavano, Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Nick Blackburn and Brian Duensing. Plus Kyle Gibson is making waves in the Twins system and Minnesota also has pitchers Glen Perkins, Jeff Manship and David Bromberg stashed away and ready to make noise at the Major League level in either the starting rotation or the bullpen.
But if the Twins make a trade and sell Liriano, they may be able to get more than face value. The reason for this is the Yankees projected starting rotation for Opening Day:
The evidence is there that the Twins could pull the trigger on a deal with the Yankees, but then again the Twins aren’t interested in dealing their ace to a team who has repeatedly bounced them out of the playoffs and will most likely be looking to do so again this year. But if the price is right, and the feeling is right, Francisco Liriano may be wearing pinstripes before the 2011 season is over.