In an article entitled “Is Liriano fit for the Big Apple?”, Michael Rand of the Star-Tribune writes,
If you’ve been fascinated — either in an intrigued way or a disgusted way — by the Twins’ willingness to entertain offers for pitcher Francisco Liriano ever since it became part of the landscape a couple of weeks ago, perhaps you should add this notion to the mix:
If the Twins are serious about listening to possible deals involving Francisco Liriano, the Yankees have the potential to be the best suitor.
Rand chooses the Yankees as the best suitor not because their prospects are any better than other teams, but because he believes they are so desperate after losing out on Cliff Lee and not coaxing And Pettitte out of retirement, that they would be willing to overpay for Liriano in prospects and money.
I don’t buy that one bit.
If anyone should know better about trading a quality arm for a package of schleps it’s the Twins, and they need not look any further than their terrible return for Johan Santana, a return that has netted them no profit or serviceable players.
It was Joe Christensen of the Star Tribune who first reported that the Twins “don’t plan to sign Francisco Liriano long term” and added that he’s surprised how open they are to the possibility of trading Liriano, citing discussions with team officials.
I like Liriano a lot, and not because of his 14 wins and 3.62 ERA last season, but because a deeper look into his metrics reveals a young southpaw who is far more superior than what those common, out-dated stats would tell you.
Liriano is a dominating pitcher and at 27 years old he is embarking upon his prime years.
His 201 strikeouts and 9.4 K/9 rate were first rate and even more remarkable was his K/BB rate of 3.47. Liriano’s 3.06 xFIP was the best mark in the AL last season. (xFIP is an improved version of ERA that eliminates unwanted variables so you can accurately compare all pitchers on a level playing field.)
Liriano’s WAR (wins above replacement) was an amazing 6.0 last season. To put that into perspective, it would have led all Mets pitchers including Johan Santana (4.4 WAR) and R.A. Dickey (3.4 WAR). Heck it was even better than Angel Pagan (4.9) and David Wright (4.1).
Nobody knows all of Liriano’s remarkable metrics better than Alderson, JP and DePo.
If there is a way for the Mets to somehow pry Liriano away from the Twinkies, the Mets should be all over it like white on rice.
Liriano would instantly become the ace of the Mets even when Santana returns. Liriano has one year of arbitration left after settling on a $4.3 million dollar contract earlier this month to avoid arbitration.
If Sandy Alderson wants to put his own stamp on the Mets, getting Liriano would be a fantastic way to do it.