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Thread: Article: Ten Things I HATE About The Liriano Trade

  1. #121
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    God damn does this deserve to be reposted. It's like an antidote for the koolaid:

    I agree with jorgen. I was hoping the Twins would get someone else's reclamation project but I think a lot of people need to realize how bad Liriano's been. Since 2008, he's had a 89 ERA+ and about 4 WAR, Blackburn has had a 87 ERA+ (in many more innings) and about 3.5 WAR. Liriano has had some nice moments but most pitchers do. He's had a ton of disaster starts and we weren't going to get much for a player like that.

  2. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
    Contract the Twins because they have been bad for about 265 games and they have a whiney fan base with a short term memory!!!

    There we go.
    Careful there! Exactly how many teams would be left if we contracted those with a whiny fan base and short-term memory?

  3. #123
    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    God damn does this deserve to be reposted. It's like an antidote for the koolaid:

    I agree with jorgen. I was hoping the Twins would get someone else's reclamation project but I think a lot of people need to realize how bad Liriano's been. Since 2008, he's had a 89 ERA+ and about 4 WAR, Blackburn has had a 87 ERA+ (in many more innings) and about 3.5 WAR. Liriano has had some nice moments but most pitchers do. He's had a ton of disaster starts and we weren't going to get much for a player like that.
    And I think it's rheotric, using stats to deliberately obfuscate a truth, representing a reality that even the original poster would deem absurd. If the logical conclusion of chosen statistics is that Liriano's value is similar to Blackburn's, then you're using the wrong statistics. The valuelessness of the statement is confirmed by it's logical conclusion.

    Let me try to frame Liriano's value using plain words. Liriano is talented but fragile. He is a risky, high-upside pitcher whose mental makeup is often (sometimes legitimately) challenged. He can be outstanding for stretches and brutal for others. FWIW, he was also, however, the best remaining pitcher on the trade market that wouldn't cost a king's ransom.

    This assessment was apparent this year, when he was brutal in April and May and outstanding in June and July. Organizations were tasked with determining which Liriano would be for the last two months. Thus, his last start, the first poor one in two months, justifiably gave some teams pause and hurt his value.

    But want to know what likely gave teams more pause and hurt his value more? A GM demanding that teams give him their best offer less than 24 hours before his next start. If you're an opposing GM and wondering exactly how much you trust Liriano, wondering what happened in that last start, and the Twins GM tells you you need to pony up your best offer before you can get another look, how much do you bid? Don't you have to assume there is something wrong? That his own GM isn't willing to put him on the mound or wait another 24 hours to see what it does to his value?

    The other teams took their cue from the Twins front office. When they saw that the Twins didn't trust Liriano, why should they?

    Ryan clearly didn't trust Liriano's next start. Maybe he was right to do so - maybe Liriano would have melted down. But what if Liriano had? Let's not pretend the Twins got anything of value in this trade. When the offer was this bad, there was far more upside to a good start than there was downside from a bad start.

    This ended up being as close to a giveaway as it could be. The problem was not our expectations. The problem was that they traded an asset at a terrible time, representing it in a terrible way, producing a terrible return.

  4. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    And I think it's rheotric, using stats to deliberately obfuscate a truth, representing a reality that even the original poster would deem absurd. If the logical conclusion of chosen statistics is that Liriano's value is similar to Blackburn's, then you're using the wrong statistics. The valuelessness of the statement is confirmed by it's logical conclusion.

    Let me try to frame Liriano's value using plain words. Liriano is talented but fragile. He is a risky, high-upside pitcher whose mental makeup is often (sometimes legitimately) challenged. He can be outstanding for stretches and brutal for others. FWIW, he was also, however, the best remaining pitcher on the trade market that wouldn't cost a king's ransom.
    This is just more excuse making. He's not fragile, he's not a high-upside pitcher. He's 28. He's a bad pitcher. Since 2008, Blackburn and Liriano have been extremely similar pitchers in results, whatever stat you want to use - QS (52 v 51%), WPA (-2.4 v -4.4), WAR (4.1 v 3.1), whip (1.415 v 1.463), ERA+ (89 v 87). Blackburn can be outstanding for stretches and brutal for others. All pitchers can. Maybe Liriano has a nice run in him for Chicago. I doubt it, but it could happen.

    Talented pitchers have multiple plus pitches to go with command and control. Liriano doesn't have that. Baseball people knew that which is why, despite many teams desperate for pitching help, no one was willing to give up anything other than a couple C prospects. It would be nice if some of the blame on Liriano's crappy career was actually placed on Liriano.

    And, as said by many, if Lirano melts down against Cleveland, his value decreases and he loses a start for the trading team. The Twins could be stuck with him and get nothing in return at all.

  5. #125
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    I'll disagree with some and say that Liriano does have very good upside but for the most part he's been awful for quite awhile and he had very little trade value.

    If you want to hate something then hate the new CBA. If the Twins gave him a qualifying offer he would have been force to accept it. Teams weren't lining up to trade for him and teams wouldn't have been lining up to sign him AND give up their first rd pick. Liriano might have upside but it was time for the Twins to part ways with him. I doubt he was a positive in the clubhouse either.

  6. #126
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    And I think it's rheotric, using stats to deliberately obfuscate a truth, representing a reality that even the original poster would deem absurd. If the logical conclusion of chosen statistics is that Liriano's value is similar to Blackburn's, then you're using the wrong statistics. The valuelessness of the statement is confirmed by it's logical conclusion.

    Let me try to frame Liriano's value using plain words. Liriano is talented but fragile. He is a risky, high-upside pitcher whose mental makeup is often (sometimes legitimately) challenged. He can be outstanding for stretches and brutal for others. FWIW, he was also, however, the best remaining pitcher on the trade market that wouldn't cost a king's ransom.

    This assessment was apparent this year, when he was brutal in April and May and outstanding in June and July. Organizations were tasked with determining which Liriano would be for the last two months. Thus, his last start, the first poor one in two months, justifiably gave some teams pause and hurt his value.

    But want to know what likely gave teams more pause and hurt his value more? A GM demanding that teams give him their best offer less than 24 hours before his next start. If you're an opposing GM and wondering exactly how much you trust Liriano, wondering what happened in that last start, and the Twins GM tells you you need to pony up your best offer before you can get another look, how much do you bid? Don't you have to assume there is something wrong? That his own GM isn't willing to put him on the mound or wait another 24 hours to see what it does to his value?

    The other teams took their cue from the Twins front office. When they saw that the Twins didn't trust Liriano, why should they?

    Ryan clearly didn't trust Liriano's next start. Maybe he was right to do so - maybe Liriano would have melted down. But what if Liriano had? Let's not pretend the Twins got anything of value in this trade. When the offer was this bad, there was far more upside to a good start than there was downside from a bad start.

    This ended up being as close to a giveaway as it could be. The problem was not our expectations. The problem was that they traded an asset at a terrible time, representing it in a terrible way, producing a terrible return.
    John, I think you are a good blogger and all, but this post is absolute horsecrap to be totally honest. I get that "bloggers" have to be more hard on the org then most traditional journalists, but frankly this is a joke, I would expect this from some poster like Thrylos who tries to bitch about everything Ryan does,but from one of the 4 owners of this site? I am a bit surprised, so I will chalk this one up to you trying to stir the pot for the sake of discussion?

    All teams needed to see in regards to Liriano was his 5.07 ERA last year and his 5.31 ERA this year. To pretend that the Twins somehow mishandled the trade or missed out on some top tier prospect due to not letting him have one more start is beyond ridiculous. Even in his "outstanding" June/July (According to you and others) resurgence from the dead (after being brought back from the bullpen) he had a 3.48 ERA in those 11 games with a 4.10 ERA in his last 8 starts and a 5.24 ERA in his last 5 starts. Yes, he was better, but was he really "outstanding", "acelike", "top of the rotation quality" as some were claiming? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. So basically he continued to be the enigma that he has been the past 4 seasons.

    Unless he went out and threw a complete game shut out with 16k's in his last start he wasn't going to net anything much more than what they got.
    Last edited by SpiritofVodkaDave; 07-31-2012 at 01:04 AM.

  7. #127
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    conclusion of chosen statistics is that Liriano's value is similar to Blackburn's, then you're using the wrong statistics. The valuelessness of the statement is confirmed by it's logical conclusion.
    You know why statistics and baseball are a beautiful thing? It's hard for the stats themselves to lie. The infatuation with Liriano is entirely driven by one stat: strike-outs. Or at least the perception that Liriano is an "ace" because he can strike people out. He's also been a bad pitcher by virtually every stat that matters and marginally better than Blackburn by those same stats. "Stuff" and strikeouts are great - when the pitcher commanding them can utilize them. We are now nearly 4 years away from his surgery and he has been a bad pitcher for more than half that time. Not just bad - brutal. One of the worst in all of baseball and absolutely comparable to Blackburn - aka the poster boy for what is wrong with the Twins. This argument is nonsense. It's not cherry-picking stats. Scouts aren't stupid and forget to look at anything other than the last 10 starts. Liriano has been brutal for all but short stretches.

    It wouldn't have mattered what phony new paint job they did on Liriano - teams are smarter than this. You can criticize the manner in which the Twins asked for offers, but to suggest that the Twins could have marketed Liriano's value better to drive up value is hokey, naive nonsense. Liriano is what he is and people paid to give accurate reports to their superiors aren't going to be duped by some "As seen on TV" sell-job no matter how hard his slider breaks or his strike-out total climbs. They see a guy who statistically has been one of the most brutal in baseball far more often than he's even been good.

  8. #128
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    You know why statistics and baseball are a beautiful thing? It's hard for the stats themselves to lie. The infatuation with Liriano is entirely driven by one stat: strike-outs. Or at least the perception that Liriano is an "ace" because he can strike people out. He's also been a bad pitcher by virtually every stat that matters and marginally better than Blackburn by those same stats. "Stuff" and strikeouts are great - when the pitcher commanding them can utilize them. We are now nearly 4 years away from his surgery and he has been a bad pitcher for more than half that time. Not just bad - brutal. One of the worst in all of baseball and absolutely comparable to Blackburn - aka the poster boy for what is wrong with the Twins. This argument is nonsense. It's not cherry-picking stats. Scouts aren't stupid and forget to look at anything other than the last 10 starts. Liriano has been brutal for all but short stretches.

    It wouldn't have mattered what phony new paint job they did on Liriano - teams are smarter than this. You can criticize the manner in which the Twins asked for offers, but to suggest that the Twins could have marketed Liriano's value better to drive up value is hokey, naive nonsense. Liriano is what he is and people paid to give accurate reports to their superiors aren't going to be duped by some "As seen on TV" sell-job no matter how hard his slider breaks or his strike-out total climbs. They see a guy who statistically has been one of the most brutal in baseball far more often than he's even been good.
    extremely well said

  9. #129
    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    I would have loved to keep Liriano and now hope we can re-sign him because he loves the Twins. He was one of my favorite players and I won't forget attending the game where he fanned a career high 15 batters! Liriano had such great poise. I hate seeing him going to the Sox, but he has been a terrible pitcher prior to this fantastic run. Right now, there are a few pluses. His big chunk of salary is gone, we got rid of an inconsistent pitcher, and we get two.... players (couldn't find anything positive to say about them). Not a fan of the move; although, it's growing on me a little. Just wished he was pitching for any other team (except the Yanks and Tigers) so I could actually root for him.
    Last edited by YourHouseIsMyHouse; 07-30-2012 at 11:57 PM.

  10. #130
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    I think one of the major differences between Liriano and Blackburn have to do with consistency. While I would be interested to see some sort of analysis, I believe that Blackburn was more consistent than Liriano. The general difference between a good Blackburn and a bad Blackburn is relatively small. The difference between a good Liriano and a bad Liriano is gigantic. Overall the numbers are equally bad, but the wild swings are different. Over the long run, you get similar numbers, but in a shorter window, Liriano can look pretty good (depending on the window). I think this may be partially what John was trying to get at. That being said, the overall trade value for Liriano was not going to change whenever Ryan made is deadline for deals. Everybody, including John, knows that Liriano is a crap shoot. Nobody will trade any true value for that, especially a team trying to get to the post season.

    I think some outside teams, and many local fans for that matter, look at Liriano as somebody that can be fixed. His upside can be so high, people can't understand the possibility that maybe what you see is what you get (anybody remember Bobby Witt). I wish Liriano luck (after he leaves the White Sox), but I don't believe he will be anything more than he already is: yet another case of a talented player not living up to their potential

  11. #131
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    Quote Originally Posted by YourHouseIsMyHouse View Post
    Liriano had such great poise.
    Wow! Somebody used Liriano and poise in the same sentence.

  12. #132
    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
    Wow! Somebody used Liriano and poise in the same sentence.
    The way he walked and how calm he looked showed confidence and prowess. That's not to say it was comforting however. Liriano always kept his head held high on the field. Frankie only revealed weakness by performance, not by expression. It was in his head where things got tricky...

  13. #133
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    But want to know what likely gave teams more pause and hurt his value more? A GM demanding that teams give him their best offer less than 24 hours before his next start. If you're an opposing GM and wondering exactly how much you trust Liriano, wondering what happened in that last start, and the Twins GM tells you you need to pony up your best offer before you can get another look, how much do you bid? Don't you have to assume there is something wrong? That his own GM isn't willing to put him on the mound or wait another 24 hours to see what it does to his value?

    The other teams took their cue from the Twins front office. When they saw that the Twins didn't trust Liriano, why should they?

    Ryan clearly didn't trust Liriano's next start. Maybe he was right to do so - maybe Liriano would have melted down. But what if Liriano had? Let's not pretend the Twins got anything of value in this trade. When the offer was this bad, there was far more upside to a good start than there was downside from a bad start.

    This ended up being as close to a giveaway as it could be. The problem was not our expectations. The problem was that they traded an asset at a terrible time, representing it in a terrible way, producing a terrible return.
    No one seems to be logically disputing John's basic thesis that Ryan should have rolled the dice by giving Liriano another start.

    If Liriano pitched a bad game, then the downside would be not getting two C level prospects (or maybe getting only one of them). But if Liriano could have a good game, then maybe the Twins might have received a B or B+ prospect from someone, preferably not the White Sox.

    Also, there is a fundamental difference between Liriano and Blackburn, which is that Liriano can be virtually unhittable when he has his act together. Liriano has a very high upside. And I suspect that no one approached the Twins wanting Blackburn.

    One thing that I like about this thread is that we will eventually KNOW who was correct. If Liriano pitches well tonight and thereafter, then there will be vindication for those who did not like the trade. But if Liriano stinks tonight and thereafter, then there will be vindication for those who are happy about trading him to an arch rival for seemingly mediocre prospects.

    For the record, I would rather have let him have tonight's start. If he stunk, then I would have rather run him through waivers in August than trading him for two bags of balls. By August there could be some pretty hungry teams out there and even if he could not clear waivers enough to get a decent prospect, this would not be much worse than relieving the hated White Sox of two of their weaker prospects.

  14. #134
    Head Moderator MVP glunn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fire Dan Gladden View Post
    I think one of the major differences between Liriano and Blackburn have to do with consistency. While I would be interested to see some sort of analysis, I believe that Blackburn was more consistent than Liriano. The general difference between a good Blackburn and a bad Blackburn is relatively small. The difference between a good Liriano and a bad Liriano is gigantic. Overall the numbers are equally bad, but the wild swings are different. Over the long run, you get similar numbers, but in a shorter window, Liriano can look pretty good (depending on the window). I think this may be partially what John was trying to get at. That being said, the overall trade value for Liriano was not going to change whenever Ryan made is deadline for deals. Everybody, including John, knows that Liriano is a crap shoot. Nobody will trade any true value for that, especially a team trying to get to the post season.

    I think some outside teams, and many local fans for that matter, look at Liriano as somebody that can be fixed. His upside can be so high, people can't understand the possibility that maybe what you see is what you get (anybody remember Bobby Witt). I wish Liriano luck (after he leaves the White Sox), but I don't believe he will be anything more than he already is: yet another case of a talented player not living up to their potential
    I agree with you. But I would ask you this. In a one game playoff against the damn Yankees, if you could bring only one of them, would you bring Blackburn or Liriano?

  15. #135
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    No one seems to be logically disputing John's basic thesis that Ryan should have rolled the dice by giving Liriano another start.
    This was only one of his larger points. If the Twins did create this goofy deadline around his last start then it was a dumb move. Not because it indicated our "trust" level, but because it was bizarre and leverage-killing.

    The point that Liriano is something far, far greater than Blackburn is just not statistically true. Their numbers, other than one category, are very similar. And that one category isn't relevant when all the others are the same! Blackburn is a bad pitcher who can't strike people out. Liriano is a bad pitcher who can strike people out. They're both still bad pitchers! The scouts aren't going to miss that. The people combing his stats aren't going to miss that. This wasn't the case of a bad sell-job, this was the case of an obvious lemon.

    That was another of the larger points John was making - that the organization didn't properly spin Liriano's value. There is no spin to it - the stats don't lie when you look at them. I get everyone's desire to make Liriano a "frontline" starter or "ace". Strikeouts are generally an indicator of the ability to dominate as a starter, but that isn't always the case. Some guys still suck and have good stuff or strike-out ability. The Twins command and control style of pitcher is irritating all of us, but the answer to that isn't to fantasize about bad pitchers to make them what we want them to be.

    We need good pitchers, preferably ones capable of striking people out, but they still have to be good. Liriano was not and nothing Ryan communicated was going to change that.

  16. #136
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLeviathan View Post
    This was only one of his larger points. If the Twins did create this goofy deadline around his last start then it was a dumb move. Not because it indicated our "trust" level, but because it was bizarre and leverage-killing.

    The point that Liriano is something far, far greater than Blackburn is just not statistically true. Their numbers, other than one category, are very similar. And that one category isn't relevant when all the others are the same! Blackburn is a bad pitcher who can't strike people out. Liriano is a bad pitcher who can strike people out. They're both still bad pitchers! The scouts aren't going to miss that. The people combing his stats aren't going to miss that. This wasn't the case of a bad sell-job, this was the case of an obvious lemon.

    That was another of the larger points John was making - that the organization didn't properly spin Liriano's value. There is no spin to it - the stats don't lie when you look at them. I get everyone's desire to make Liriano a "frontline" starter or "ace". Strikeouts are generally an indicator of the ability to dominate as a starter, but that isn't always the case. Some guys still suck and have good stuff or strike-out ability. The Twins command and control style of pitcher is irritating all of us, but the answer to that isn't to fantasize about bad pitchers to make them what we want them to be.

    We need good pitchers, preferably ones capable of striking people out, but they still have to be good. Liriano was not and nothing Ryan communicated was going to change that.
    Agreed on all points.
    At the end of the day meidocre players get traded for medicore prospects.

    If Escobar can stick as a UTIL guy for a few years or Hernandez can crack the rotation for a couple years this trade goes down as a nice win for Ryan.

  17. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
    I agree with you. But I would ask you this. In a one game playoff against the damn Yankees, if you could bring only one of them, would you bring Blackburn or Liriano?
    It's a crapshoot. With Blackburn, you know you will need 4-5 runs to win, but it probably only be 4-5 runs. Liriano may give you 7 shutout innings, or may give up 8 runs in two innings. Either way it's a roll of the dice.

  18. #138
    Owner All-Star John Bonnes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
    John, I think you are a good blogger and all, but this post is absolute horsecrap to be totally honest. I get that "bloggers" have to be more hard on the org then most traditional journalists, but frankly this is a joke, I would expect this from some poster like Thrylos who tries to bitch about everything Ryan does,but from one of the 4 owners of this site? I am a bit surprised, so I will chalk this one up to you trying to stir the pot for the sake of discussion?
    I'm not stirring the pot. I'm also not anti-Ryan, though I'll admit this deal has shaken my confidence in him more than any other move he has made. But that's not my point. Those might be other voices.

    And I'll stand by my two major points from that post:

    1) If your stats say Liriano=Blackburn, then your stats are not pertinent. Blackburn will be put through waivers this August and no team will claim him. That would not happen with Liriano. It is ridiculous to suggest they have equal value. And if WHIP or WAR says they do, then those stats are as irrelevant as looking at their respective heights.

    2) What hurt Liriano's return most in this trade was Ryan's timing. I don't doubt that this was the best offer Ryan could get - on Saturday night 24 hours before his last start. I am confident this was not the right time to move him. I honestly can't fathom anyone making the case that it WAS the right time to move him. I'd love to hear it. The only argument I can envision is that they were terrified his value would decline even more - which would have cost them the equivalent of maybe a future Tolbert and Duensing? So what?

    So just so I'm clear (and try to drown out Other Voices) here is my point: I didn't expect a huge return. I don't have a vendetta against Ryan. But this trade was done without any kind of negotiation with Liriano, sent him to a division rival, was done when his value was at its lowest point in the last 3 weeks and brought back a pathetic return of prospects that aren't likely to be anywhere near the Twins top 10 list. That's a bad trade.

  19. #139
    Twins Moderator All-Star diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
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    was it written anywhere that Ryan had a deadline for Liriano? What's to say that Williams didn't give him a deadline for a take it/leave it offer?

  20. #140
    Twins News Team All-Star TheLeviathan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
    1) If your stats say Liriano=Blackburn, then your stats are not pertinent.
    In terms of pitching performance, by all means, point out the stats that are pertinent over the last 4 years. Liriano has been only slightly less awful than Blackburn. What their "value" is - is another question. The comparison was shown as a justification for why his value may have been that low and it's a perfectly valid point. If you are almost as bad a pitcher as Nick Blackburn - no one should expect your value to be sky high. The numbers are there. They don't lie.

    You're stuck on perception rather than seeing the point for what it is. The Twins weren't ever going to get much for Liriano because, frankly, he's just not been very good. In fact, he's been downright awful for much of the last four years. Awful enough that he is comparable with the dreaded King of Pitch to Contact: Nick Blackburn. If you disagree, by all means, use stats. Calling a stat not "pertinent" or "irrelevant" because it disagrees with your perception is incredibly foolish.

    Liriano's value didn't drop with his start against the White Sox - it dropped with 2009, 2011, and April of 2012. The same reason he's comparable to Blackburn in everything but strikeouts.

    2) What hurt Liriano's return most in this trade was Ryan's timing. I don't doubt that this was the best offer Ryan could get - on Saturday night 24 hours before his last start.
    Do you have a source for this or are you just speculating? I agree with the general idea that Ryan should've held off until today, but you're making this sound like he set up his own deadline. It makes sense, but do you know this to be true?

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