Saturday, July 19, 2008

Liriano conspiracy theory heating up

Francisco Liriano's agent just might have a point.

Why is Liriano still pitching in Rochester and not Minneapolis?

Over the last nine starts, Liriano is 7-0 with a 2.73 ERA.

Yet, somehow he can't crack a staff that has Livan Hernandez, who somehow has 9 wins despite awful ERA (5.44) and WHIP (1.62) numbers.

Greg Genske, Liriano's agent has asked the players' union to investigate the situation, implying that the Twins are keeping him in AAA to delay his arbitration clock. A player with three years of service time is eligible for arbitration. Liriano has two years and 45 days.

The Twins have had better-than-expected results from four young arms, Scott Baker, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey. All four deserve rotation spots.

But Hernandez? They claim his veteran leadership is invaluable. But in six of his last 10 starts, Hernandez has given up at least 6 runs, failing to get out of the fifth inning three times.

The Twins are one of the hottest teams in baseball since June 1 and GM Bill Smith says that “When the major league team is playing well, that affects all the players in the minor leagues.”

Still, as much as I hate to side with agents, I can definitely see credence in Genske's complaint.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, however, does not, countering that "no one is going to tell us who to put on our team."

It'll be interesting to see how this all shakes out, but in the meantime, if Liriano's still hanging around your wire, it's probably a good time to snatch him up, even if you have to plug him into a live spot.

We'll likely see him back in the big leagues before the end of the month, and with 102 Ks in 110 innings (including 31 Ks in his last 28 IP), it's clear that Liriano has command back with his devastating slider. Especially valuable in 5x5 leagues, Liriano won't touch his numbers from 2006, but a 3.50 ERA and a K an inning is very possible.


Kevin Decker said...

Livan may have a high era but he's #1 on the team in wins, #8 in the league in wins, #18 in MLB in wins. He's 2 wins ahead of Johan Santana!

He may not have great "fantasy league" stats but he's a major reason the Twins are doing so well this year.

Liriano's agent is trying to get press for his client but he's shooting them both in the foot with this stupid "investigation." It's certainly not going to endear him to Twins management or his teammates. Nor is it going to get him called up any sooner.