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Are Twins saving Liriano for the stretch drive or just saving money?

Posted at 5:32 PM on July 17, 2008 by Steve Rudolph (8 Comments)

According to reports, Francisco Liriano's agent has filed a grievance with the players' union claiming the Twins are violating the collective bargaining agreement by keeping "The Franchise" at Class-AAA Rochester.

While I wouldn't put it past the Twins to find creative ways to keep Liriano in a Twins uniform for as long as financially possible, it's unlikely that service time is the reason he hasn't rejoined the club.

So why won't he be at the Metrodome Friday when the Twins resume play against the Rangers?

For starters, until a couple weeks ago Liriano was just an average AAA-pitcher and the Twins want to be sure he's back to 2006-form before they call him up.

Another reason the team has been reluctant to recall Liriano from the minors is that doing so would likely cost them a pitcher.

Ask yourself, who does Liriano replace in the rotation?

Livan Hernandez has struggled of late, but he'd not going anywhere. The four young arms have shown they belong. The Twins could use Liriano as a reliever, but that's not the best situation for him or the team. Plus to make room in the bullpen they'd have to waive Bonser or Bass.

Does Liriano deserve to be with the Twins? Yes. Does he have a case? I don't think so. What do you think?

Comments (8)

Always felt the Twins were dealing with two pitchers possibly filling one role in 2008. Glen Perkins pitched very little and came out of the bullpen in 2007. Francisco Liriano was recovering from Tommy John surgery and had zero innings in 2007.

Yes, bring up Liriano and move, perhaps, Perkins to the pen as a long guy, possibly have Perkins return to the rotation if Liriano tires as September comes around.

Either way, don't see Perkins or Liriano pitching more than 150 innings in 2008. And I even wonder on how Baker, Slowey, Blackburn will hold up as the team plays thru September.

Almost need to keep Livan and his high ERA on staff, and maybe Boof as the mop-up guy in reserve (bye-bye Bass, sorry).

Posted by Rosterman | July 17, 2008 8:02 PM

Liriano is a great picture. Unfortunately, his agent is mouthing off to much is his name. The twins may have no choice but to trade him. Its a bit lopsided toward Seattle, but I say trade him for their third baseman and maybe a low level pitching prospect. Twins may look like fools down the road, but if he is poison they no choice.

Posted by Mitch Slovut | July 17, 2008 11:56 PM

That trade is more than a bit lopsided for Seattle. Why would you trade a 24 year old pitcher with tons of potential that we could easily afford to hold onto for years (at least until he reach free agency). Also while I am a fan of the idea of bringing Beltre to the Twins you don’t trade a guy like Liriano for Beltre. Beltre is a good third baseman but this year he is only hitting .259 with a .769 OPS. If it were me I would trade as many castoffs as we can get rid of (for example – Lamb and Everett) packaged with a pitching prospect. That way we get the player we want and Seattle gets the salary dump it wants with expiring contracts so they can sign new players next year. Also trading some pitching doesn’t seem like too bad of an idea especially since the reason we can’t bring Liriano up right now is that we have too many good pitchers.

Posted by Patrick | July 18, 2008 11:11 AM

I think they're going to wait and see if one of the young guys falters to bring up Liriano. Trading him would be short-sighted. And really, the Twins hold all the cards here. Liriano can't force them to do anything.

But this, along with some of the concerns about how he has dealt with the injury, raises some questions about Liriano's maturity, and I think you can tell from Gardy's comments that he's getting a bit tired of all this.

Posted by ChrisD | July 18, 2008 11:47 AM

Rosterman, I think we're tracking similarly. If positioned the right way, I don't think Perkins would see a move to the bullpen as a demotion. He was extremely effective as a reliever when he broke into the majors. His versatility could prove invaluable down the stretch.

Posted by Steve Rudolph | July 18, 2008 12:18 PM

No, Perkins can't be sent to the bullpen. I didn't think so before tonight's game (which just ended less than a minute ago), and I definitely don't think so now. In fact, none of our starters have given any reason to change their status (with the small exception of Livan, but for obvious reasons you can't do anything with him).

All these starters have had a chance to prove themselves, and so far the only that hasn't is Liriano. His claims are groundless, and he will stay in the Minors for now.

P.S. You'll notice that I didn't say anything about trading any of them. If the deal is right, I don't have too many problems with that...

Posted by Erik | July 18, 2008 9:52 PM

Bye Bye Bass? He has been awesome this year, one of the best out of the bullpen and can pitch night after night. If we should get rid of anyone it is dennys reyes, not?

Posted by Tom | July 24, 2008 12:05 PM

Are you kidding me? Bass has been the weakest link in the pen, and Reyes one of the bright spots. Not that it's a ringing endorsement, but he's been just as good as Crain and Guerrier. The main point here is we need to "get rid" of a starter. While Liriano's agent doesn't have a case, Liriano himself, I believe, has really stepped up. Trade a starter (maybe Slowey or Perkins) for a bat or a good arm out of the pen...

Posted by Erik | July 24, 2008 1:15 PM

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