Two big pitching trades have been made this week and several more have been close. With all that activity, could it be that Terry Ryan has missed his chance to maximize his return on Francisco Liriano?
I don’t think so, but I also doubt we’ll see a move soon.
Still Lots Of Interest
The Tigers acquired Anibal Sanchez on Monday and the Pirates traded for Wandy Rodriguez on Tuesday. Both are top notch pitchers that could be viewed as comparable (or better) than Liriano. Furthermore, yesterday Dan Gladden revealed that the Twins had long talks with the Pirates before they walked away and the Pirates worked out a deal with Houston for Rodriguez. It also appears that the Dodgers are in a standoff with the Cubs for Ryan Dempster, a standoff they’re likely to win since Dempster has already vetoed a trade to the Braves.
That’s three “buyers” likely gone for Ryan. But it appears that there are still plenty left. Within the past month, the Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Braves and Blue Jays have all been rumored to be interested in Liriano. Plus, the Orioles, Nationals, Mets, White Sox and Cardinals have all demonstrated they are interested in adding starting pitching. That is ten teams, albeit with varying level of interest.
Still Lots Of Uncertainty
But things are still moving slowly because nobody is sure exactly which pitchers are going to be available. Cole Hamels is out because he just signed an extension with Philadelphia. Matt Garza might be out, because “forearm pain” is often the first sign of an elbow ligament tear, so teams want to see him pitch again, and the Cubs say he might not. Rumors have been flying about the Marlins Josh Johnson, but the Marlins now say they would need to be blown away to trade him.
On the other hand, Zach Greinke is almost certainly available. He’ll almost certainly be moved to teams before Liriano, because most GMs will try for Greinke first and turn to Liriano as the backup choice. It’s not clear if some other huge names like the Phillies Cliff Lee or the Rays James Shields are available because they aren’t “rental” players, so any trade would require major prospects. The buyers are going to want to explore all these options, looking for the best deal.
The Waiting Game
So it appears we’re going to need to wait a bit longer. Liriano hasn’t been consistent enough to make anyone overpay for him before others have signed. But it also appears that ultimately, there are going to be more teams looking for top-tier pitchers than there will be top-tier pitchers. If that stays true, it playing the waiting game is still the best hope for maximizing Liriano’s value.