Should the O’s pursue Liriano?

Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported last night that the Twins may consider trading Francisco Liriano.

Liriano, who turned 27 in October, has started 89 games in the Majors. He burst on the scene in 2006 before requiring Tommy John surgery and missing the 2007 season. He returned to the Majors in ’08, making 14 starts. In ’09 he struggled trying to recapture his stuff. He finished that year 5-13, with a 5.80 era, allowing 147 hits, with 122 k’s over 136.2 ip.

In 2010 Liriano looked like his old self. He started 31 games, and pitched 191.2 ip. He racked up 201 k’s, with 184 hits allowed. He held hitters to a .670 OPS against. For the year he finished 14-10, with a 3.62 era.

Last night when this story broke, I had a long Twitter exchange with Daniel Moroz from Camden Crazies.

My contention was that I’d love to have Liriano in Orange and Black. I’d be willing to trade one of Tillman or Britton, Avery, +2 other Minor Leaguers of the Twins’ choice. The thought is that they would not have interest in Pie. Moroz believes the cost could be as much as Arrieta, Tillman or Britton, Avery, +.

I don’t see that.  I don’t see how a guy with Liriano’s arm history, signed through ’12 would cost two players with the talent of Arrieta & Tillman or Britton. The O’s can not give up the years of control of two of those three guys for Liriano. They can give up one I think.

Moroz and I both imagined the Yankees would get involved if Liriano is actually available. I suggested the Yankees could offer a package centered around their Catching prospect Montero. Moroz correctly stated that a position player has more value than a pitcher, and pointed out that Montero is typically ranked ahead of Britton on prospect rankings. I countered by stating there is little difference between 5 where Montero typically ranks, and 10 where Britton usually ranks. While I appreciate an everyday player, I think you also have to account for the scarcity of pitching. As such, I would think Britton’s value compares favorably with Montero – especially if Montero winds up being a DH. Of course Moroz made another valid point that Montero could probably be serviceable at 1st.

Moroz’s last issue was that he did not believe it would be worthwhile for the O’s to give up multiple assets (including my proposed package of Tillman or Britton, Avery, +2 ML’s) for Liriano now. The idea being that giving up multiple assets when you do not know if you will be in position to contend in 2012 is foolish.

My thought is that you know he would bring you one step closer to contention, that you can give up one of the two pitchers for 2 years of control, and that Avery is likely an afterthought with the O’s in the next 2-3 years.

This afternoon FanGraphs has weighed in with a discussion asking what is Liriano worth?

FanGraphs‘ Dave Cameron thinks the Yankees would balk at an asking price of Montero, and suggests Liriano’s worth should equate to what the Blue Jays received from Milwaukee for Marcum. If that is accurate, you could argue that either Tillman or Britton on their own would be too much as the centerpiece for Liriano, and that the O’s would certainly not have to deal Arrieta, and one of the two other pitchers.

I’m not sure I see a package from the O’s that would work from the Twins perspective, but I do think determining the cost would be worthwhile for Baltimore.

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About the author

Chris Stoner   

Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director. You can reach him via email at

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5 Responses to Should the O’s pursue Liriano?

  1. Brian says:

    Hey Chris,

    Liriano is worth than Marcum. Liriano is better and I’ve read that his injury isn’t as bad as Marcum’s. Actually, his pitching motion isn’t as hard on his arm as Marcum’s. Marcum has a split finger or something that puts a lot of pressure on the arm.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to a Tillman and Arrieta deal for Liriano IF we could negotiate an extension for Liriano to add a 3rd year. Tillman are Arrieta are question marks. (Actually, I think they hold the key to a .500+ season.) Liriano is an ace. I’ll take the ace over 2 question marks with potential but no track record any day.

    Liriano and Matusz back to back… Then Guthrie where his talent says he should be. Bergy, then Dukes (to ‘save’ his arm). And Britton in the wings. And if we’re out of it comes the trade deadline, Liriano and a bat (Lee, Scott) could bring a haul from a bubble team.

    It’s hard to argue with Moroz though. I’m impressed with his analytical skills.

    • Chris says:

      Interesting thoughts Brian! Glad you are able to post here…

      Yeah, should be impressed with Moroz – he consistently puts out plus content. Also a good guy.

  2. Dave says:

    Oh come on guys. How many times are we gonna pick up somebody elses has been. Yes, normally its been through free agency and is the last man standing after the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers get whoever they want. At this point keep the young arms, see what they can do.

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Dave,

    Thanks for reading / posting. Why is Liriano a ‘has been’? The guy is 27 years old, is coming off a very productive season?

    One of the things I really like about the Birds as they go to Spring Training is the depth of the rotation with Tillman and Britton likely in AAA. So in that sense, I agree with you about keeping the young arms and continuing to build that way. That said, I do think you can make the case for trading one of them as the centerpiece for a younger productive player like Liriano. I think Brian above made a decent argument for trading two, but that is not something I would do.

  4. Dave says:

    First of all has been was probably wrong term. Stand corrected on that. SHould have broekn merchandise.
    Injuries in pitchers never seem to stay away. Its few and far between you get more then one or two productive seasons.
    In all reality what are the chances we would ever get a quality pitcher for one strong prospect. Who else would they want for him. I don’t think it would be extra infielder/outfielder.

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