Kenny Williams of the White Sox, a GM known to make deals at the drop of a hat, made another one late on Saturday. He acquired Twins lefty Francisco Liriano in exchange for infielder Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Pedro Hernandez, reports Ken Rosenthal.
Liriano really hasn't been the same pitcher since having Tommy John surgery late in his 2006 rookie season. His walk rate has spiked since that year, except for in 2010, and while he's still striking out a batter per inning, he just hasn't been the all-out, dominant force that he was in 2006. This year, in 100 innings for Minnesota, Liriano has struck out 109 and walked 55, along with allowing 12 homers (compared to 14 all of last year).
The White Sox have a solid rotation with Chris Sale and Jake Peavy leading their staff, and Jose Quintana has come out of nowhere to stabilize the middle of their starting five. However, Gavin Floyd has been inconsistent for them, while John Danks and Philip Humber have dealt with injuries, and been ineffective when healthy. At the worst, Liriano will add a flamethrower to Chicago's rotation (or possible their great bullpen).
The pair of players heading back to Minnesota are really nothing special. The 23-year old Escobar has served in a bench role for the White Sox this year, OPSing .557 in 36 games while getting time at four positions. Last year in AAA for Chicago, Escobar had a .657 OPS, so it's not as if he's having issues hitting a ceiling in the majors; this probably is his ceiling. Hernandez is a 23-year old who has spent time at three different levels in the White Sox organization this year. Combined, he's thrown 89 2/3 innings, striking out 56 and walking 22. Last season in the Padres organization, he threw 116 innings, struck out 94, and walked just 22. There might not be much of a future there, but he's better than Escobar at least.
I'm wondering if this was actually the best offer on the table for Liriano. Williams was probably willing to pick up a good chunk of Liriano's salary, a key sticking point for a small market Twins team burdened with Joe Mauer's monster deal. You have to also wonder if this is just the beginning for the Twins, and if more deals will be coming in the next three days.
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