White Sox General Manager Kenny Williams made a low risk-high reward trade with the Minnesota Twins Saturday evening when Chicago acquired starting pitcher Francisco Liriano in exchange for lefthanded pitcher Pedro Hernandez and third baseman Eduardo Escobar.
Trading Places: White Sox Acquire Francisco Liriano
Sunday July 29th, 2012
The White Sox bring Liriano in to help a starting rotation that owns the 17th best ERA in the major leagues, and has really struggled to find any kind of consistency out of any of their starters. Unfortunately, so far this season, Liriano has also been inconsistent.
8 out of Liriano's 17 starts have been of the quality variety, but he owns a 5.31 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. Even though he has lacked control and the ability to minimize mistakes, the native Dominican has been able to strike out batters, sitting down 109 over this season's 100 innings pitched. It is worth noting that not all 100 innings were made as a starter because of a stint in the bullpen in mid-May.
But it's not all bad news, since his start on May 30th Liriano has a respectable 4.13 ERA, and if you take away his last outing, which happened to be against the White Sox, where he only lasted 2 2/3 innings while giving up seven runs, his ERA would 3.25 over the span of 10 starts.
White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper is one of the best in the major leagues, and he must see something in Liriano that he can "fix" to get him back close to the level of effectiveness he once was achieved.
In return for Liriano, the Twins receive two players that have seen minimal time in the major leagues. South paw Pedro Hernandez made one unsuccessful start for the White Sox this year, allowing eight earned runs in just four innings pitched, but the 23-year-old does have a 2.94 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP over 85-plus innings between Double and Triple-A this season.
Third baseman Eduardo Escobar, who is also 23-years-old, has 82 at-bats at the major league level this year, carrying a .195 batting average with no home runs and two stolen bases. While at Triple-A last season he carried a .266/.303/.354 triple-slash line, indicating that he is at the major league level because of his defense. Still only 23 years-old he may develop at the plate, but he appears to be a utility infielder known for his defense. Neither player the Twins received in the trade were ranked in the Top Ten of the White Sox organization by Baseball America.
From a fantasy standpoint Francisco Liriano is still just as volatile on the mound in Chicago as he was in Minnesota - maybe even more so if he continues his recent trend of allowing home runs. His return to becoming a consistent and effective starting pitcher could lie in pitching coach Don Cooper and a change of scenery while being inserted back into a pennant race.
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