Trading Liriano foolish unless an established commodity is the return

  • Blog Post by: Darren "Doogie" Wolfson
  • February 14, 2011 - 8:47 PM

I really wanted to blog the absurdity of Iowa fans taking a picture with the Insight Bowl trophy this weekend or the impossible feat that director Adam McKay pulled off with "Step Brothers" -- making a movie with Will Ferrell unwatchable.

Instead, I will focus on the Twins and a trade idea.

It was a simple question via my Twitter account (@DarrenWolfson): Who says no to this trade: pitcher Francisco Liriano, outfielder Ben Revere, and prospects Chris Parmelee (1B) and Adrian Salcedo (P) to Arizona for outfielder Justin Upton?

Some of the 38 responses:


  • From @winegarden13 -- I want to believe but please convince me that Upton trade wouldn't be Garza/Young part deux.
  • From @SixHoleMN -- MLB is not a video game. How about Kubel and 8 best prospects for Pujols and Wainwright? Who says no? Dumb.
  • From @Skiumah_Smokers -- why are you targeting an OF. It's the easiest position to fill. If Liriano's gotta go, get a SS prospect.
  • From @CoreyEttinger -- I'm all about getting Upton, but your deal seems like a significant overpayment.
  • From @fran_the_man -- Already likely overpaying just with Liriano. He'd be best pitcher in NL, outside of Philly.
  • From @cjloken -- Almost every scout, baseball expert or GM would say that Upton for Liriano + 3 prospects is a great trade for #twins. #MLB
  • From @mission1619 -- Liriano for a guy who OPS'd .898 with 26 hrs and 20 stls and great D in his age 21 season. I'll take it.
  • From @minnemike -- If Liriano gets traded, we better get some nice arms back.
  • From @rolson21 -- I don't think that is enough for J. Upton. Gonna have to be Liriano-Hicks +, J. Upton is gonna be a top 5 guy and soon.
  • From @MNTwinsGUFS -- whoa... our #1 pitcher and 3 of #Twins top 15 or 20 prospects for Upton? What are you smoking?
  • From @oscardagrouch27 -- Twins giving up way too much.
  • From @T_Charbonneau -- I have concerns about Upton's health.
  • From @consigliari51 -- No conversation about Upton to the Twins can occur without Sano in the package.
  • From @rpwhales11 -- no way minny makes that deal, just stupid.
  • From @ben_gundy -- Love it. Liriano goes to the NL, Cuddy doesn't re-sign and we spend all that cash next year on an ace.


According to Aaron Gleeman, only six players in the last 50 years -- Alex Rodriguez, Miguel Cabrera, Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Conigliaro, Boog Powell, and Cesar Cedeno -- have gotten at least 1,500 plate appearances by age 23 and posted a higher OPS than Upton.

He can run, hit for power, make good pitchers look ordinary, and play Gold Glove-caliber defense. He also has a team-friendly contract that runs through 2015. Why Arizona discussed him in trade talks at the winter meetings makes about as much sense as Lady Gaga's alien-like egg costume at the Grammy Awards.


Adding, or even slightly overpaying, for Upton is a no-brainer for any team. So why not put together a package for him headlined by Liriano? This basic idea is how Twins general manager Bill Smith should be thinking when talking with teams.


For reasons mostly unknown, two reports last week -- the Star Tribune and -- indicate that Liriano is not in the Twins' long-term plans. Talking to one baseball insider this weekend, there is concern among many organizations that Liriano's violent delivery will eventually catch-up to him again. The Twins probably feel the same way, plus Liriano isn't exactly Phillies pitcher Roy Halladay on the dedication scale. 

Being two years away from free agency, Liriano's trade value will never be higher. Personally, I would keep him for myriad reasons, mostly because he is the only Twins' starter with electric stuff. Everyone else gets by on guts and guile. Scott Baker occasionally teases us, but not enough to move Liriano for two or three B+ prospects. But if a trade of Liriano is inevitable, Smith should stay away from a package of minor-leaguers, no matter how tantalizing they are. Move Liriano for an already-established player. If Smith has to sweeten the offer with his own prospects, then he should.

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