07-31-2012, 08:05 AM #101
Wow, I had no idea so many people loved Liriano and missed his run of awful the last few seasons. He might have an excellent post Twins career because he does have excellent stuff but this has to be one of the most obvious situations where it's better for two sides to part. The good Liriano wasn't going to happen in MN.
07-31-2012, 11:15 AM #102
First off, actually looking at baseball-reference's WAR values shows that these two guys aren't really comparable:
Since 2007 -
Sanchez = 9.3
Liriano = 4.0
Bumping this back to 2006 is highly questionable, since it includes a season prior to Liriano's latest injury, but even so, Sanchez's 2006 was also really good (10-3, 2.83 ERA, 1.19 WHIP), so that the difference remains pretty much the same:
Since 2006 -
Sanchez = 12.9
Liriano = 8.4
Fangraph's WAR makes the two pitchers look much more equal, for reasons I can't figure out. You can cling to that if you want, but citing Fangraphs while dismissing baseball-reference would be as big a mistake as citing baseball-reference while dismissing Fangraphs -- and neither make Liriano look better than Sanchez.
Second, the difference between the American and National Leagues in terms of pitchers' ERA isn't that huge; AL teams score an average of 4.46 runs per game, resulting in a mean ERA of 4.07, while NL teams score an average of 4.24 runs per game, resulting in a mean ERA of 3.97. So, sure, you could say that Sanchez's ERA might go up in the AL while Liriano's might go down in the NL. Even so, that Liriano's ERA will look better and Sanchez's will look worse doesn't mean that either pitcher will actually be better or worse -- all you're changing is the context, not the underlying value.
While I'm not normally a fan of this kind of statement, in this case, I think the market got the analysis right -- Sanchez is a more valuable pitcher than Liriano, and is more likely to have a positive impact on his team, and thus was worth more to acquire.