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Liriano Needs to be Called Up

The Twins front office seems to be a little confused, regarding its starting pitching situation.

On July 1, assistant GM Rob Antony said:

“We’re looking more for the seven, eight innings where he doesn’t walk many and he’s a little bit more in control of things. When you string three or four of those together, then you’re on a pretty good roll.”
That was very obviously an excuse to keep Liriano at AAA. Except that since June 20, Liriano hasn’t given up a run, and has struck out 24 and walked 3, in 20 innings. Apparently, that’s just about what the Twins are looking for, and he must be on a pretty good roll. So he’s about to get called up, right?
“We told him it’s a two-part thing. He needs to dominate, to pitch better, and then there also has to be a spot, and as long as all these guys are pitching well, we’re not just going to create a spot unfairly to someone else.”
Oh yeah, there’s no room for Francisco Liriano in this rotation, since all our guys are pitching so well! Of course! I mean, it’s not like there’s a guy in the rotation who has the 44th best ERA in the league (out of 46), and has given up the most hits in baseball, and is in fact on pace to give up the most hits in a season since World War 2. If someone were performing that poorly, then perhaps he could be replaced by one of the best young pitchers in the game who happens to be embarassing hitters at AAA.

No. If you thought that you’d be wrong. I guess.

What’s worse, is that the communication between the Twins and Liriano doesn’t seem to have improved.

“Francisco is, and has been, frustrated with the lack of direction he’s been given by the front office,” said Greg Genske, Liriano’s agent.
Maybe it’s just me, but it might be better to at least try to keep the guy happy. He is, after all, “The Franchise.” (And I would think that for an organization that prides itself on clubhouse chemistry, they’d try to keep everyone happy. Rather than single out their most talented players and deliberately screw with them, to the benefit of the worst players in the league.)

Call up Liriano. He’s dominating, and he very clearly has “a spot” in the rotation. Livan’s. Is this really that hard?

Oh, and in other news, La Velle comes up with an update on Shooter Hunt, one of this year’s supplemental first round picks. He’s been pitching at Rookie level Elizabethtown, and has been doing fairly well. In 3 starts, he has given up 2 runs in 14 innings. While striking out 28 and walking 2, and giving up just 2 hits.

That’s right. 18 K/9. 1.29 BB/9. 1.29 H/9. 0.29 WHIP.

Now that’s dominant. Perhaps he’s demonstrated that he overmatches the competition, and should be called up to low-A Beloit. We’ll see how long it takes the front office to do anything about that.


2 Comments so far

  1. thrylos98 July 17th, 2008 11:36 am

    Liriano will be called up by the end of the month. If he is called up before 7/27, there is a possibility (if the Twins reach the post season) that he will be a “super two” player and thus can go through arbitration at the end of the year. That is the single reason he will be down about 10 more days…

  2. sirsean July 17th, 2008 12:32 pm

    That’s an excellent point. I don’t know if 7/27 is the exact date (and how are the playoffs calculated into that? Are they?), but let’s just assume for the moment that it is.

    Then they’ll wait until then to bring him up, meaning that they must be looking at trade partners to unload Livan between 7/27 and 7/31. If only he’d done a little bit better than “worst pitcher ever,” some contender might pay too much for his “playoff experience.”

    If money were no issue, we’d call up Liriano and waive Livan. Right now. But money is an issue on both counts — Livan makes $5M (probably $7M by the end of the season, considering the way we’re using him), and Liriano will cost a LOT of money in arbitration (why does being injured for all of 2007 count as major league service time … and what are the odds they take that lack of performance into the arbitration consideration?).

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