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  • Twins Trade Francisco Liriano To White Sox

    The Minnesota Twins traded Francisco Liriano to the White Sox tonight for infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-handed pitcher Pedro Hernandez. Liriano was scheduled to start Sunday's game versus the Cleveland Indians. Brian Duensing will take his turn in the rotation.

    Neither prospect the Twins received is highly, or even semi-highly, regarded. Escobar was not in Baseball America's list of the White Sox top 10 prospects prior to the season. He was #7 on Baseball Prospectus' list, but is listed as a 2-star (out of five) prospect.

    Escobar is just 23 years old and has spent this year in the majors with the White Sox. It's not clear why; it appears he have two option years left and it's hard to make a case that he's earned that promotion. Last year he hit .266 with a .303 OBP in AAA. In fact, his career OBP through all the levels of the minors is just .315 and he's struck out 100+ times in his last two years. Not too surprisingly, he's hitting .195 in the majors, albeit in just 92 plate appearances.

    Pedro Hernandez also did not not make Baseball America's top 10 and ranked 15th on the Baseball Prospectus list. He's pitched at three level this year: 12 starts in AA, two starts in AAA and a single major league start. But he's clearly been rushed through AAA with just six starts. He's 23 years old.

    He fits the stereotyped Twins pitcher - good control but not dominating stuff, or at least dominating as measure by strikeouts. His career minor league average is 7.4 K/9, which is below average. This year in AA he posted a 2.06 ERA - but also struck out just 37 batters in 68 IP. That's a lower rate than even Nick Blackburn had in AA.

    Hernandez has also never pitcher more than 116 inning in the minors or had more than 18 starts. He has been used as a reliever several time throughout the minors. However, he has shown outstanding control with a K to BB ratio approaching 5:1, although that has suffered as he has made his way up the minor league ladder.

    I've made the mistake several times of leaping to conclusions about lower level prospects that Terry Ryan has targeted who have turned out far better than I might have hoped. Jason Bartlett and Alexi Casilla both some to mind, and I'm sure there are more. But at first glance, it looks like Liriano was traded to a division rival for two C prospects that might fill needs but are long shots to have any long-lasting impact on the organization.
    Comments 189 Comments
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      That's the only glimmer of hope I can take away from this trade. Unfortunately, the chance of striking gold twice on that type of player is pretty slim.
      Unfortunately, having looked at his batted ball profile, he doesn't have the magic sink that Diamond does.
    1. Riverbrian's Avatar
      Riverbrian -
      Here's what I did in my own head... I was pretty sure all along that Frankie had little value but I allowed myself to become hopeful that he had acquired some value because he strung some good starts together. I built up the expectation in my head because I was hopeful and I was reading his name in the rumor mill... Orioles scouting him... Angels scouting him... Blah Blah Blah... I think if some of you step back and look at it. A majority of you did the same thing. You allowed yourself to be hopeful for a nice return package.

      What happened in this deal was reality. No matter what anyone thinks of the return on Frankie. We got something and we were about to watch the clock expire on Frankie because he was not coming back for 2013 unless we sign him for a reasonable deal as a FA. I doubt the Twins want to go that direction but who knows.

      We got something and now it's up to these two new players to prove themselves going forward. If they don't... Well... They will be like the thousands of others who didn't make it but I'm willing to bet that the Twins like the chances of at least one of these guys.

      The Twins need to start fresh with Pitching next year and move forward. I'd like the moving forward part to go as quickly as possible but you can't force other teams to give you players because you want them.

      I've always believed that Span is the player that has the most value in a trade and I still do. Span is under control so TR doesn't have to move him at the trade deadline if the deal isn't right. If Span would have been traded to the White Sox for this pair... We could be a little more legimate in our indignation.

      Frankie is a pitcher that can help a team in a playoff run or he could take that team completely off the rails. Any team that traded for him was grasping at straws. Rolling the Dice... Flipping the Coin... If I was a GM.... I wouldn't give up a lot for a guy that can potentially kill your chances just as easy as he provides a boost.

      Frankie was gone in two months. Gone.

      We still have a couple more days of trade deadline. Hang on everyone.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Unfortunately, having looked at his batted ball profile, he doesn't have the magic sink that Diamond does.
      Sigh. Well, I'm not going to rail on the trade too hard. I was wrong about the Diamond trade and so was 95% of the rest of the fan base (most of the other 5% consisted of dyed-in-the-wool homers). We all need to eat a few platefuls of crow for that trade.

      With that said, I still don't like it. But I'll reserve a small portion of my hatred of the trade to admit that we don't know much about these players and there could be something there we don't see on a stat sheet.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      Sigh. Well, I'm not going to rail on the trade too hard. I was wrong about the Diamond trade and so was 95% of the rest of the fan base (most of the other 5% consisted of dyed-in-the-wool homers). We all need to eat a few platefuls of crow for that trade.

      With that said, I still don't like it. But I'll reserve a small portion of my hatred of the trade to admit that we don't know much about these players and there could be something there we don't see on a stat sheet.
      You can count me in on the 95%.

      It's not so much that I hate this trade, it's just that there doesn't appear to be anything to like about it.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      You can count me in on the 95%.

      It's not so much that I hate this trade, it's just that there doesn't appear to be anything to like about it.
      Exactly. It seems to be the opposite of risk. The Twins get a soft-tosser and a no-OBP middle infielder.

      Isn't the Twins system chock-full of both of those things already?
    1. killebrew's Avatar
      killebrew -
      Quote Originally Posted by deanlambrecht View Post
      Exactly this.
      No, because nobody expected a ton of talent in return.

      There are two tradeoffs in the prospect package matrix. The first is proximity vs upside, the second is quantity vs quality. Ryan failed on both counts. The Twins are in a position right now where adding a couple of guys who will be nothing more than be modestly useful in the next couple of years gets them nowhere.

      The only way to significantly improve the team through a Liriano trade would have been to accept some risk while exercising some patience.

      They weren't going to get a sandwich pick for him, but I think they could have landed an A-ball pitcher with a 20% chance of being a #3 some day - which is about what a sandwich pick is worth. That's a better deal for this team.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
      You guys crack me up. Is there ever going to be any situation that will make you happy?

      The Twins decided Liriano was not going to be back next year and they weren't going to offer him the qualifying offer, so they made the best deal they felt they could. Who cares where he went this year. The Twins are not going to win the division this year. If they kept him through this year, he could still go to the White Sox (see Jesse Crain). They could trade him somewhere else and he could still end up in the division (see AJ Pierzynski).

      You guys all called for Liriano to be dumped after the horrible start, sat around waiting for the other shoe to drop while he was pitching well, and now that he's traded, complain we didn't get enough for him. You are already complaining about the 40 man roster for next year?

      Everybody needs to look at the reality of the situation and chill out. We got a utility infielder and middle reliever, both young and under team control. You were expecting Miguel Cabrera?

      Well. Pedro could turn into the current equivalent of Frankie. Is that so bad?

      The question is that by getting two AAA guys, do the Twins basically pass on Florimon and Bromberg, as two examples, to add on the 40-man roster. Equivalent players from your own system...well, maybe a tad older.

      Yes, looking at this addition, I can see Pedro coming p in September and being given every chance next year to be in the rotation. Does Escobar basically replace Alexi. But what is the upside there...fielding? speed? OBP? youth? He has two years to stay with the Twins.

      Again, worrying about the 40-man. It will be interesting to see who doesn't make, becomes minors free agents and all.
    1. Rosterman's Avatar
      Rosterman -
      Too bad we couldn't have packaged Toshi with Liriano, and offered to take Crain back!
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      Exactly. It seems to be the opposite of risk. The Twins get a soft-tosser and a no-OBP middle infielder.

      Isn't the Twins system chock-full of both of those things already?
      I don't think the Twins have anyone in their system with the ability to defend at SS to match Escobar's reports. BBA listed Dozier as the best defensive IF in their handbook. We are not even sure if he is a SS. Jorge Polanco has had some good reports off his defense but he is a long way for the majors. Florimon seems similar. The rap on him coming in according to Sickels was his trouble with the routine plays. In any case, the system is pretty void of guys who can defend at SS.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by Rosterman View Post
      Well. Pedro could turn into the current equivalent of Frankie. Is that so bad?

      The question is that by getting two AAA guys, do the Twins basically pass on Florimon and Bromberg, as two examples, to add on the 40-man roster. Equivalent players from your own system...well, maybe a tad older.

      Yes, looking at this addition, I can see Pedro coming p in September and being given every chance next year to be in the rotation. Does Escobar basically replace Alexi. But what is the upside there...fielding? speed? OBP? youth? He has two years to stay with the Twins.

      Again, worrying about the 40-man. It will be interesting to see who doesn't make, becomes minors free agents and all.
      Escobar may be nothing special, but he is a significantly better prospect then Florimon, anyone who says Florimon is a better option then Escobar is flat out wrong.

      The Twins have plenty of garbage on the 40 man, they shouldn't have to worry about making room.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Also looking at Hernandez we are forgetting two things:
      1. we have the latino pitcher whisperer still on the roster.
      2. His strike out rate isn't amazing, but it isn't as awful as many are making it out to be. Last year he had 9.4 k/9 in AA and 7.3 k/9 total for 2011. This year his k rate dipped quite a bit in AA but his ERA also was respectable 2.75, and I know this is short sample size to the max, but he does have 17 strike outs in 18 innings at AAA this year. He is still relatively young at 23 and apparently is trying to figure out his curve ball, if the Twins can help him with his third pitch is it unreasonable to think he couldn't at post a 7 k/9 rate in the majors? He isn't a strike out machine, but he isn't exactly Pavano/Blackburn at this point either.
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -
      Yes, I think it's unreasonable to expect him to maintain the same strikeout rate in the majors that he had in the minors.
    1. jorgenswest's Avatar
      jorgenswest -
      Hernandez - Do we have many 23 year old pitchers in this system who have made it to AAA and performed reasonably well throughout? The only guy I can think of is Hendriks. It looks like he profiles minimally as a reliever who can be more than a LOOGY. These guys have value.
    1. greengoblinrulz's Avatar
      greengoblinrulz -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      What BA list are you looking at? Is there another one? I don't see him here:

      http://www.baseballamerica.com/today...2/2612801.html
      Ive got the actual handbook.....guess the website could be different.
      Noticed on some websites that as soon as the player loses rookie status, they are taken off the prospcts list.

      Simon Castro at #3 was acquired with Hernandez in the CQuentin deal & wasnt w/Sox yet in the book....so that probably knocked Escobar down to 11th. Casto was 14th for SD but 3rd for CHI, showing how lacking the Sox system was as BA had SOX ranked last & SD 8th(again in the book).
    1. strumdatjag's Avatar
      strumdatjag -
      Twins are setting up a battle for middle infield positions next year in spring training: between Dozier (SS is his job to lose, but he'll be on a short leash), Casilla (maybe pronounced Kah-See Ya Later), Jamie Carroll (if he's still around - may be traded), believe it or not - Nishioka, maybe Florimon and who knows.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by snepp View Post
      Yes, I think it's unreasonable to expect him to maintain the same strikeout rate in the majors that he had in the minors.
      Yeah, he'd have to improve that third pitch, which the Twins have had some success with in the past. Even if his k rate drops you can sometimes live with a 6 k/9 rate. It's when you start dropping below that when you begin to approach Blackburn/Pavanoness territory.
    1. FrodaddyG's Avatar
      FrodaddyG -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      It's when you start dropping below that when you begin to approach Blackburn/Pavanoness territory.
      The way he did in his (larger than AAA) AA sample size this year?
    1. DPJ's Avatar
      DPJ -
      Jeez, you go camping and come back to this bull****.

      I can't add anything that already hasn't been said, so I'll keep it simple. THE TWINS FRONT OFFICE IS FULL OF MORONS.
    1. Dilligaf69's Avatar
      Dilligaf69 -
      Quote Originally Posted by DPJ View Post
      Jeez, you go camping and come back to this bull****.

      I can't add anything that already hasn't been said, so I'll keep it simple. THE TWINS FRONT OFFICE IS FULL OF MORONS.

      Send in a resume....
    1. USAFChief's Avatar
      USAFChief -
      Just another example of talent drain out of the Twins system, which has been going on since Bill Smith took over.

      Terrible waste.
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