June 25, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (47) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Chicago White Sox at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE
After reading a pretty convincing article on Fangraphs detailing positive adjustments that Francisco Liriano has made in his approach I couldn't in good conscience headline this article SHOULD The Angels Trade for Francisco Liriano.
As he is pitching right now he would be the Angels #3 arm considering how the Angels #3-#7 starters are throwing. Assuming Dan Haren comes back is nice, but assuming he comes back, Ervin Santana stabilizes, Garrett Richards matures and Jerome Williams repeats his early season moments of brilliance... well that crosses the line between assumption and flat out dreaming.
The Angels would immeasurably improve their pitching staff by trading for Francisco Liriano. If he is not our #3 he would be our #4 and the last time I checked, playoff teams with good #4 pitchers thrive. As a better version of Ervin Santana, that is to say a flyball-prone power pitcher, the marine layer in Anaheim would be kind to Frankie Lee (I like the guy so much I am already lobbying for nicknames).
With the Angels minor leagues pretty much bare and the Twins in a winnable division and looking for a quick rebuild rather than a major overhaul, the way to get Liriano might be to offer Minnesota two of our young, cost controlled major leaguers. I would propose that Minnesota be offered to choose two of the following: Jordan Walden, Peter Bourjos, Hank Conger or Richards.
Before you flip out because I just mentioned your boyfriend among that short list, consider the good side of Liriano: He is not a rental. He is in his third year of arbitration after this season. He is getting $5.5 million this year and will not get a wild raise considering a slow start to this season. Santana could be jettisoned for a younger cheaper version of himself, giving next year's staff depth and cost savings. If you think Haren is worth renewing then Santana is gone.
Two of these players alone will not net us a starter along the lines of Zach Greinke or Cole Hamels. We are not trading for an ace. We are trading blocked players who have some major league experience who would get the chance to shine with playing time in another organization.
- Jordan Walden touches the high 90s but could not save games here. Because of a decade of mostly great Mike Scioscia bullpens we as Angels fans are down on Waldo whereas he would be worshiped by fans of teams whose pen have a history of stink. He alone will not bring in a starting pitcher with years of big league experience and glimmers of excellence.
- Hank Conger is blocked in Anaheim until he is wooed by Mickey Hatcher and the Dodgers in 2016. If you are jonesing for schmaltzy melodramatic ballads, imagine Hank karaokeing to Mike If you don't know me by now, you will never ever know me.
- Peter Bourjos is blocked here, folks, and it is not going to get any better for him next year. Kole Calhoun can fit into Torii Hunter's shoes and T-n-T take care of Center and Left just fine. No slight on Fleet Pete, but he would make some GMs drool.
- Garrett Richards has the whole prospect thing going on for him and yet he has already shown glimmers of ability at the 4-A level. His stuff may be brilliant three years form now. Wouldn't it be nice to see him win the Cy Young for another team with 2012 world series rings on our hands?
The trade deadline is in 25 days. Don't get sentimental overvalue anything that cannot help you win now. We are four games behind a Texas team that is slumping into a heatstroke of a third place finish if they are not careful. Do we have what it takes to go deep in the playoffs or do we have the stones and tradeable pieces to go out and get it?