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Troy Larson

Should Fransisco Liriano Become A Full Time Reliever?

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Originally Posted at http://troystwinsdugout.wordpress.co...time-reliever/

Recently, the Twins have moved Fransisco Liriano to the bullpen. Since then, he's made two relief appearances and hasn't allowed a run.

On Monday, he pitched two innings of relief against the Cleveland Indians. He retired the tribe in order in the seventh. In the eighth, he walked the bases loaded before working out of the jam.

Earlier this afternoon, he pitched 2/3 of an inning against the Detroit Tigers facing one batter, retiring the Tigers by means of a double play.

From following Liriano this season, one thing has become obvious to me. Liriano pitches fine for one inning. The next inning, he works himself into a jam and can't think straight on the mound. Even last year, especially later in the season, Liriano was displaying this inconsistency from one inning to the next.

Although this is only a small sample size, but from Liriano's recent relief appearances, it makes it a good idea to keep him in the bullpen. And the fact he was able to work out of pressure situations today and on Monday makes it seem like the logical thing to do.

There are pitchers that have struggled in the past as starters and when they moved to the bullpen, they found success.

LaTroy Hawkins is one such example of a Twins pitcher that found success when he moved to the bullpen. In his first five seasons with the Twins, he never had an ERA under 5. In 2000, he appeared in 66 games, saving 14 and finished with an ERA of 3.39 with 14 saves.

Since then, he's had only two seasons where his ERA was over 5 (2001 and 2010). In his first five seasons, Hawkins pitched to an ERA of 6.92. From 2000-2012 he has an ERA of 3.51.

For me, it makes sense to convert Liriano to a full time reliever. However, the Twins may not want to since they have a salary of $7 million invested in him. Plus, if he returns to the rotation and does close to as well he did in 2006, the Twins could get more in a trade around the trading deadline.

However, because of the fact he's struggled in the past two seasons, I think it would be the best thing the Twins could do. Who knows, Liriano could be a closer in a year or two. And if he's a successful closer, he could make just as much money as he does now, maybe even more. The fact he's been inconsistent as a starter in the past two seasons suggests that this is a good move for Liriano to become a full time reliever.

Comments

  1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
    Yes, I believe he should be indeed. I think he can succeed as an excellent setup man.
  2. J-Dog Dungan's Avatar
    I would agree with you, except the Twins already have a lefty set-up man, and we trust him a lot more than we trust Liriano in that spot. He would be good in the bullpen, and, if the Twins keep him there and he thrives, his asking price this coming offseason might drop enough so the Twins could sign him to be another good lefty out of the bullpen.
  3. Blake's Avatar
    Capps is probably gone after this year. It looks to me like Glenn Perkins will probably take over as the closer. At that point, Liriano becomes the set up man. Yes, it would be a bit unusual to have two lefties at the end of the bullpen, but, since both have the demonstrated ability to get people out, I don't think it would be much of an issue.
  4. Mauerzy4Prez's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Blake
    Capps is probably gone after this year. It looks to me like Glenn Perkins will probably take over as the closer. At that point, Liriano becomes the set up man. Yes, it would be a bit unusual to have two lefties at the end of the bullpen, but, since both have the demonstrated ability to get people out, I don't think it would be much of an issue.
    I say get rid of Capps right now, and shift Perk into the closer role... Duensing/Franky/Burton/Burnett are your team of set up guys. I know Capps worked on this great new pitch and has had decent success this year, but I am tired of watching the end of a game where we have a one run lead and just waiting for Capps to give it up. I was in AZ last year and went to the back to back games he blew saves in, never have I been more sure of a pitcher not being our closer. Matt Crapps needs to go blow saves somewhere else... not here!
  5. Troy Larson's Avatar
    As for Capps being traded, I don't think that will happen unless the Twins can get some value for him. I think unless Capps has some really outstanding numbers in the next couple of months, look for him to stay with the Twins.
  6. Montecore's Avatar
    Liriano should remain in the pen. I don't know what his problem is, but, it's a matter of what's working, and what isn't.
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