• 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. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Oh, and to answer the original question. A Liriano extension would look a lot like Pandora's box.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by diehardtwinsfan View Post
      Kenny Rogers and John Smiley weren't terrible if memory serves me right, but I'm too lazy to look it up.
      I thought Smiley originally, but he came in a trade.
    1. YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
      YourHouseIsMyHouse -
      The extension is extremely risky and it could see everyone complaining about it if it doesn't work. I say arbitration is a great choice. If you go with the 12.5 it's either a one year deal or a draft pick. Win-win. I'd be hesitant of a trade because there's a good chance we end up with nothing. Who would trade anything valuable for half a year of Liriano?
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      I don't think going 12.5 for Liriano, even if it is only for one year, could be considered a win.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      I don't think going 12.5 for Liriano, even if it is only for one year, could be considered a win.
      Yeah, and if he accepts that eats pretty deeply into what's available for other FAs. In my mind, it's either sign him now, or trade him before the deadline.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      I think the only proper answer to this question is "A bad idea."

      Bye bye on July 31st Frankie, I'll be happy no matter the return.
    1. East Coast Twin's Avatar
      East Coast Twin -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      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.
      A quick number crunching: the Twins have contracts worth $68.5M for eight players (plus Nishioka) in 2013. Add four arbitration eligible players (ignoring Casilla) and another ten or so at league minimum, and that brings the total to an estimated $77-78M. What does that leave for free agents, $20M?

      Like you said, if you spend $12.5M on Liriano what do you do about the rest of the rotation?
    1. chopper0080's Avatar
      chopper0080 -
      Shanewahl, Nick Nelson, sbknudson, and Musk21 have it right. Make a trade now that Liriano's value is high, and get something in return. If he makes it to the open market the TWins can always pursue him at that point. If the market was depleted of starting pitching talent then I could see trying to extend him, but it is flush and the Twins would be doing themselves a disservice by not trading him. Potential is just that, potential. Liriano may have it, but his track record shows it is a pipe dream.

      I alos think Anibal Sanchez would be a great signing, but I wonder if he would bite on a Twins offer. I would guess he will command around 13mil on the open market.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Offer him 2 years/15 million right now. I doubt he would do much better on the open market at this point. If he declines, then trade him.

      1 year 12.5 million is way to much if he accepts (which he most certainly would)
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      I'd like them to trade him if they can get a legit 2B or SP prospect for him. Then use the FA money to fill the holes. The best of both worlds. However, they rarely do what I want them to do with players, so I'm not holding out much hope.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      under no circumstances should they not trade him. However, if they want to resign him in the offseason AFTER dealin him.....got no problem with it.
      If they dont trade him, I hope he leaves as a FA & MN gets nothing
    1. James Richter's Avatar
      James Richter -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      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.
      I think he'd take it, too. I can't see another team giving up a 1st rounder to offer a multi-year deal to a guy as inconsistent as Liriano (though somebody like San Diego might give up a 2nd-rounder, I suppose.) Whether or not the Twins should offer it depends on their risk tolerance. Everybody on John's list except for Sanchez has health/consistency question marks, but will probably get contracts that guarantee $10M or so per season for multiple years. Nick's right: the Twins can't get a higher-upside starter for less guaranteed money than Liriano.

      If he pitches well for the remainder of July, I think the FO should plan on making him a qualifying offer after the season. Therefore, they shouldn't trade him for anything less than the value of the 2 comp picks. But, if somebody offers better value than that, by all means take it. If he's still around at the end of the season, let him choose between $12.5M for one year or a 2-year deal with an option - lower AAV, but more guaranteed money. But I wouldn't offer him an extension until after he's pitched well for 4 straight months.

      As for the rest of the rotation, the Twins had better be planning on spending at least $20M for two starters. If recent offseasons are any indication, there will be something decent left at the $8M level in January.
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Quote Originally Posted by James Richter View Post
      I think he'd take it, too. I can't see another team giving up a 1st rounder to offer a multi-year deal to a guy as inconsistent as Liriano (though somebody like San Diego might give up a 2nd-rounder, I suppose.) Whether or not the Twins should offer it depends on their risk tolerance. Everybody on John's list except for Sanchez has health/consistency question marks, but will probably get contracts that guarantee $10M or so per season for multiple years. Nick's right: the Twins can't get a higher-upside starter for less guaranteed money than Liriano.

      If he pitches well for the remainder of July, I think the FO should plan on making him a qualifying offer after the season. Therefore, they shouldn't trade him for anything less than the value of the 2 comp picks. But, if somebody offers better value than that, by all means take it. If he's still around at the end of the season, let him choose between $12.5M for one year or a 2-year deal with an option - lower AAV, but more guaranteed money. But I wouldn't offer him an extension until after he's pitched well for 4 straight months.

      As for the rest of the rotation, the Twins had better be planning on spending at least $20M for two starters. If recent offseasons are any indication, there will be something decent left at the $8M level in January.
      Under the new CBA, teams signing FAs no longer lose draft picks.

      And there would only be one comp pick, not two, between the 1st and 2nd rounds, if he turned down the Twins qualifying offer.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      From SBNation

      "The Elias free-agent rankings system is dead. Free-agent compensation is not. In order for a team to receive compensation for losing a free agent, that free agent must have played with the team all season. After the year, the team must offer the free agent a one-year contract worth the average of the 125 highest salaries. If that free agent signs with another team, the other team will give up its first-round pick, unless it picks in the top ten, in which case it will give up its second-round pick. The original team will also gain a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds. In the event that there are multiple such picks, the teams will draft in reverse order of winning percentage."

      http://mlb.sbnation.com/2011/11/23/2...abor-agreement

      According to the above, it is still two picks.
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