• What Would A Francisco Liriano Contract Extension Look Like?

    If the Twins want to sign Francisco Liriano to an extension, it will need to be in the parameters of what Liriano will make on the free agent market this winter. But its hard to know even roughly how much he’ll command. Partly that’s because of his mercurial performance. But that problem is compounded by a free agent class that is unprecedented in pitching depth.

    It starts with two 28-year-olds, right-hander Zach Greinke and left-hander Cole Hamels that are both better than anyone in last year’s class. They both could reach nine figure deals with yearly salaries that approach $20M per year.

    But the really remarkable variable about the free agent class is the next level. There is a glut of “potential” star pitchers and Liriano falls into that class.



    • Anibal Sanchez – The Marlins right-hander is just 28, and has thrown 195+ innings with a mid 3s ERA the last two years. He looks similarly strong this year.



    • Shaun Marcum – The Brewers 30-year-old right-hander has a 3.56 ERA over the last three years and has averaged about 200 innings the last two of years. But lately he’s shelved with a sore elbow.



    • Jake Peavy - The 2007 Cy Young winner has been injured a lot the past several years, but has finally regained his form with the White Sox with a 2.96 ERA (and 101 K).



    • Colby Lewis – the Rangers right-hander who has struck out 455 batters and in 500 innings over the last 2.5 years – but who is now out with “forearm tightness”.



    • Dan Haren – After posting an ERA of 3.08 over the last two years with the Angels, the 31-year-old right-hander struggled this year. He recently admitted he’s had lower back pain all season and may find the DL. His performance over the last couple of months may determine if the Angels pick up his $15M option.



    • Ervin Santana – Like Liriano, Santana has had good years and bad years. The last two, where he threw 451.2 innings with a 3.65 ERA were very good years. This year, where he has a 5.12 ERA is not so much. He’s not even 30 yet.


    Liriano, who currently has 5.40 ERA and 76K in 76.2 IP slots in somewhere among these pitchers. He’s probably been the least consisten, but he’s also one of the youngest. He has never posted the inning totals that these guys have. But he’s also the only left-hander in this group.

    Finally, it’s also worth noting that I haven’t included a slew of other pitchers, some of whom might even be more enticing to teams looking for “inning eaters”: Kyle Lohse, Joe Saunders, Randy Wolf, Carl Pavano, Kevin Correia, Derek Lowe, Carlos Zambrano, Fausto Carmona and Daisuke Matsuzaka.

    So how much could Liriano expect, provided he continues to be effective? The guys I bullet pointed above could all expect multiyear offers for $10M+ per year any other year. Injuries and late season performances could change that. So could the depth of the market.

    Liriano would likely be on the low end of that group, but his age could be a factor in allowing a longer-term deal. Three years and $27M “feels” about right. But there are a ton of unknowns. If some teams really want a left-hander, he could go higher. If the market dries up after the first half dozen guys sign, he could go lower or for fewer years. Plus, there is his performance in July through September. If he wants to cash in now and avoid all that, one would think the price of an extension might be a little lower.

    But there is another lesson here too.

    The Twins, should they choose to spend some money, have a historically deep free agent class to rebuild their rotation. While the focus is likely to be Greinke or Hamels, there is a lot of value in that next tier – someone is going to fall out of that group and get a lower contract than we anticipate. And there are a lot of other average pitchers (such as Pavano) who might find themselves standing without a chair when the music stops.

    If the Twins choose to try and extend Liriano, they place their bet early. It might make more sense to wait until the market sorts itself out and be aggressive later.
    This article was originally published in blog: What Would A Francisco Liriano Contract Extension Look Like? started by John Bonnes
    Comments 34 Comments
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      One additional point i wish I would have added. This range also makes it difficult to know if Twins could/should offer Liriano a $12.5 one-year offer to get a draft pick if he signs elsewhere. Liriano might take it, or he might not. If he does take it, it would mean paying a premium for a pitcher when the market is likely to be flooded, which would almost certainly be a mistake.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      I dunno. At this point I'd have no problem with offering the $12.5 M regardless of how the market sorts out. Clearly it can't be the only money they spend on pitching, but they'll have payroll beyond that and Liriano isn't a terrible gamble at that price.
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      I'm not sure what they should do with Liriano. I mean, he's been here so long, we shouldn't still be hoping that he gets it together but it sure is tempting. I wouldn't sign Liriano, but I wouldn't blame the FO if they decided to do it based on a handful of summer starts.

      It's a pipe dream, but I really hope the Twins go after Sanchez this offseason.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Three options for Liriano with the future in mind.

      1- Trade and get something.
      2- Offer 12.4 million/1 year this winter and he either signs or we get two comp picks if he leaves hoping for multiple years
      3- Sign to multiyear now

      I am not sure our expectations can be that great in a trade. The other team will get 13-16 starts with the likelihood of losing him in the winter. They can not get compensation for losing him. Can we convince Brian Sabean that the Giants need Liriano back? If the Twins can get a deal for two middling prospects it would be similar to getting two comp picks.

      As for the multiyear, we will probably have to overpay to convince Liriano to give up his free agent rights. John's suggested offer may not be enough. On the other hand, Doumit gave up his free agent rights when given the second year he couldn't get last winter. The money was fair. The Twins take on the injury risk. Maybe Liriano will do the same for three years if the money is fair.

      The other option is do nothing. That can't happen. The Twins need to decide now if they will make a qualifying offer. If not, they need to trade him for whatever they can get.
    1. jmlease1's Avatar
      jmlease1 -
      Liriano is a really hard call. You just don't know what his performance is going to be the next few years, and it seems likely it will be "inconsistent".

      I don't like the idea of making the $12.3M arbitration tender, because I think Liriano would probably take it and no one else would come near those dollars for him. $12M for a guy who might be great, could completely stink, and will probably spend another year being really frustrating? Yikes. Especially as it probably takes the team out of the market for one of the top starters.

      Right now, I think it's sign a 3-year deal or deal him. No higher than John's $27M package, but I'd hope we might get him in under that considering his injury & recent performance history. But I'm perfectly ok with dealing him too, and I think we might get a decent package for him. Moreover, if he gets moved, that frees up more money to go after a guy like Greinke, whom I think the Twins should go all out to get.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Lot's of teams will be after Sanchez. Why would he sign with the Twins? John Danks received a $65m/5 contract. Sanchez could get something similar.

      While it is true that there are more potential free agent pitchers this winter, it will also be true that there will be more teams losing a pitcher and therefore more buyers. There market was flooded with closers last year. The most reliable closers received very good deals with a lot of buyers in the market. At the end of the market, a some fringe closers were signed at bargain deals. Sanchez will get a good offer and I can't imagine why he would choose the Twins.
    1. nokomismod's Avatar
      nokomismod -
      As a fan, I completely turned off from Liriano. I just hope we can deal him for something of value and call it over. I'd rather have consistent mediocrity than him at this point.
      That being said, the other pitchers John mentioned aren't that consistent either.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      I still think 3/$24 gets it done, and balances the risk pretty fairly.

      I also don't think offering Liriano $12.5 this winter is an option (the qualifying offer was $12.4 last winter and will most likely go up a little). If he reverts to sucking this year, Twins won't offer. If he continues to pitch like he has recently, he won't accept and the Twins will end up with one sandwich pick.

      So to me, the only options are extend him or trade him. I would sign him. Where else do the Twins get a pitcher for that money with his stuff?
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
      I also don't think offering Liriano $12.5 this winter is an option (the qualifying offer was $12.4 last winter and will most likely go up a little). If he reverts to sucking this year, Twins won't offer. If he continues to pitch like he has recently, he won't accept and the Twins will end up with one sandwich pick.
      ... And they end up with an extra draft pick plus all that money to spend on another FA pitcher. I'm failing to see why this isn't an option. Seems like a pretty good one to me.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      ... And they end up with an extra draft pick plus all that money to spend on another FA pitcher. I'm failing to see why this isn't an option. Seems like a pretty good one to me.
      I'm about 75% sure he would take that offer and run. I haven't crunched the numbers for next year's payroll, but I gotta think that handing $12.5M to Liriano leaves precious little for the other 3/5 of the rotation.
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I cannot figure out how anyone would want to sign Liriano to a multi-year deal. The Twins absolutely need to trade him away and let another organization deal with his inconsistency. It is troubling that $12.5 million is being talked about for someone who currently has a 5.30 ERA and a growing walk rate. Seriously???
    1. IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
      IdahoPilgrim -
      I just don't know how we can take the chance on him - his last outing you began to see flashes of "bad Frankie" returning.

      Two months ago, most everyone said the best we could hope for was for Liriano to get hot, put together a good run of starts, generate some trade value, and then we could move him. Now that he's doing that, the thinking seems to be changing to keeping him, because maybe this time it's for real and for good. Isn't that the same logic that got us into trouble last year, when we had the poor run and everybody said we should sell before the trade deadline and get prospects, only for us to go on a good run and get fooled into thinking we could compete for the AL Central, so we made no moves, lost Cuddyer & Kubel, and got nothing in return? This is just the same thing. This latest run is fool's gold. Let's not be the ones who buy it ourselves.
    1. Musk21's Avatar
      Musk21 -
      Quote Originally Posted by sbknudson View Post
      I just don't know how we can take the chance on him - his last outing you began to see flashes of "bad Frankie" returning.

      Two months ago, most everyone said the best we could hope for was for Liriano to get hot, put together a good run of starts, generate some trade value, and then we could move him. Now that he's doing that, the thinking seems to be changing to keeping him, because maybe this time it's for real and for good. Isn't that the same logic that got us into trouble last year, when we had the poor run and everybody said we should sell before the trade deadline and get prospects, only for us to go on a good run and get fooled into thinking we could compete for the AL Central, so we made no moves, lost Cuddyer & Kubel, and got nothing in return? This is just the same thing. This latest run is fool's gold. Let's not be the ones who buy it ourselves.
      This. He's finally recouped some trade value, so it's time to get something decent for him and move on.
    1. PopRiveter's Avatar
      PopRiveter -
      Liriano is the player an "incentive-laden deal" was created for. Offer him 2 years (or three if you absolutely have to) with a $6mil/yr base and incentives that add up to $4mil/yr on top of it. If he gets more elsewhere, let whoever signs him be the sucker. You just can't risk more than $6mil/yr on this big a question mark and expect to compete. He was a demotion candidate this year and last. If he goes the wrong way, he won't be in baseball 3 more years.
    1. ashburyjohn's Avatar
      ashburyjohn -
      No. Just, no.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Hope he has a good outing against the Rangers, trade him over the all star break for the best package you can get, and never, ever look back.

      I would never trust him with a three year deal.
    1. Jack Torse's Avatar
      Jack Torse -
      If the Twins resign Liriano to any sort of contract extension I will eat the chair you were sitting on to type this piece.
    1. notoriousgod71's Avatar
      notoriousgod71 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      ... And they end up with an extra draft pick plus all that money to spend on another FA pitcher. I'm failing to see why this isn't an option. Seems like a pretty good one to me.
      Based off post 1991 history I'm very much convinced that Liriano would be better than any FA pitcher we might sign.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Trivia time, who is the best free agent pitcher they've signed since 1991?


      It isn't Bob Tewksbury is it?
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Trivia time, who is the best free agent pitcher they've signed since 1991?


      It isn't Bob Tewksbury is it?
      Kenny Rogers and John Smiley weren't terrible if memory serves me right, but I'm too lazy to look it up.
©2014 TwinsCentric, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Interested in advertising with Twins Daily? Click here.