Yanks inquire on Francisco Liriano

A bidding war for a backstop
Winter Meetings Day Four Chat
(Charlie Neibergall/AP)

Think there’s no Plan B in the case the Yankees don’t land Cliff Lee? That does not appear to be the case. In his media session yesterday Joe Girardi said that they had a list of five players that they’d consider in that scenario, and according to Joel Sherman one of those players is Francisco Liriano:

Several teams have called Minnesota to inquire about the availability of ace Francisco Liriano , including the Yankees, who are making sure of what is available in case they don’t land Cliff Lee . But a Twins official said the team is focused on upgrading the front of the rotation and could not imagine how they would let Liriano go unless it were a trade that led to obtaining another high-end starter.

This does strike me as a bit odd, for the same reasons mentioned in the final sentence. Why would the Twins trade their best starter when they’ll be right in the AL Central hunt? It’s nice to hear that the Yanks are calling around for viable alternatives, but as I found when I sought the mystery pitcher, there just isn’t much that figures to be available.

Sherman goes on to mention the White Sox, who are right up against their budget limit after re-signing Paul Konerko, as a possible trade partner. While they almost certainly won’t trade John Danks, they do have Edwin Jackson and Gavin Floyd. The rotation situation is tough for them, since Jake Peavy will miss the start of the season and his recovery is not guaranteed, but if they want to save some cash they could trade a starter and hope that Chris Sale makes an impact in the rotation. Again, considering the moves the White Sox made this winter, I think they’re more focused on fielding the best possible team than freeing up payroll.

(Unless, of course, they have a move in mind that would improve the team and require a bit more payroll.)

With a seventh year tacked onto the Cliff Lee offer, the Yanks have to be the favorites right now. But they’re not resting comfortably. It’s good to see them looking around the league and inquiring on top-end pitchers. They do have a few nice trade chips, including Jesus Montero, so they have room to maneuver. What will be even more interesting is if they land Lee and continue shopping for a top-end pitcher. But we’ll worry about that after the weekend, when Lee will supposedly make his decision.

A bidding war for a backstop
Winter Meetings Day Four Chat
  • vin

    Who saw that coming?

  • pete


  • Graig not Craig

    “What will be even more interesting is if they land Lee and continue shopping for a top-end pitcher.”


  • Not Tank the Frank

    Yeah Liriano seems like an odd choice as you would think he’s compeltely unavailabe. But it is good to see the Yankees exploring all options. You never know if you don’t ask.

    • djh

      Yeah, if the Yanks ask about all the attractive pitchers I’m sure one out there is available.

  • Not Tank the Frank

    But a Twins official said the team is focused on upgrading the front of the rotation and could not imagine how they would let Liriano go unless it were a trade that led to obtaining another high-end starter.

    And obviously this means a Burnett/Liriano swap is in the works.

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S

      Burnett is soooo high-end. Definitely.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    What will be even more interesting is if they land Lee and continue shopping for a top-end pitcher.

    I’m actually a bigger proponent of getting Greinke (or someone similar) if the Yankees do get Lee, as opposed to a backup plan.

    • djh

      I feel the same way if they get Lee and Pettitte hangs it up I would be more in favor of going all in for Greinke and builiding a super rotation as oppose to getting someone like Greinke by himself as a backup.

    • Mike HC

      I would rather have Liriano over Grienke, especially if we have to give up less.

      • JobaWockeeZ

        Unlikely seeing as the Twins are in the playoff hunt whereas the Royals won’t compete until their farm develops and can actually withstand the loss fo Greinke with their Big Four.

        But they’ll both be very expensive regardless.

      • djh

        I agree, but it sounds like Liriano isn’t even available like Greinke is, so to get a player a team isn’t shopping I’m sure would cost more then Greinke.

      • Mike HC

        Yea, I don’t know why I assumed we could get Liriano for less. Both will take a lot to get. I wouldn’t include Hughes in either deal though, and also would not include Montero. Anything else is tradeable in my book.

    • Dre

      I agree 100 percent adding to the fact that with Lee the pressure with coming to New York will be less of an factor which can only help with Greinke’s social anxiety issue. Just imagine that rotation, there could be a new big three in New york……..CC, Lee, and Grienke. Boston can’t this!!!!!!!

  • djh

    A list of five , huh? These would be my guesses.


    No idea who else would be on that list but it is good to hear that if they lose one of Lee or Pettitte they will look for an upgrade outside the ORG, because I don’t want to see Nova in the 5 spot that’s for sure.

  • vin

    Cashman can just sign him after 2012. Pettitte will most certainly be done by then, and AJ will only have 1 year left on his deal.

  • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

    Cashman: “Since you guys hate losing to us in the playoffs, how about I just take Liriano and you can avoid October altogether?”

    • vin

      You forgot the “MWAHAHAHAHA”

  • Thomas Cassidy

    I could see them inquiring on Chad Billingsly, too.

    • djh

      I bet they inquire about a bunch of guys like that and get told no just about everytime, but all it takes is one. Plus NY does have some nice trade chips so they might be able to pull someone out of thin air if they feel like they have to.

      • Mister Delaware

        “Wait, you are trading Swisher? What do you want? Betemit? For real? Ok, put it in.”

    • Not Tank the Frank

      Good one…he might really be available and I don’t believe he would command a Greinke-like package in return.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Anybody who can hold a baseball like he is in that pic and throw it for strikes-

    Worth having.

  • Johnny O

    I’m on the phone at work and read this as “Yanks acquire Francisco Liriano”. I immediately yelled that to the person I was talking to (also a Yankees fan) and we were both screaming into the phone for about 15 seconds before I re-read the headline correctly. I just got internet blue balls.

    • ryan

      that’s awesome thanks for sharing and sorry for the disappointment!

  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    Think this is just the Yankees exploring options. All we heard all off-season was how the Twins have more revenues to flex with their new stadium and were focused on replacing low strikeout/walk pitchers with some bonafide SP talent. Why would they trade their one frontline starter?

  • Johnny

    I have a feeling the Yankees will needing Plan B.

    • Eric Young

      And Plan C.

      Rosenthal’s and/or Heyman’s tweets regarding Pettitte – especially what he’s supposedly said to Cashman and to Girardi in the past couple of days – haven’t been comforting at all.

    • Don

      I agree. I think Cliff Lee really prefers Texas and is using the Yankee pursestrings to force Texas to pay up.

      I also think Zack Grienke may be involved in any future Yankee trade for a pitcher. Because he is perceived not to want to pitch in NY, I think the Yankees will team with Minnesota, or Chicago, or some other team, in a 3-way swap that sends another No. 2 starter to NY, with Grienke going to the third team, which chips in prospects to complement NY’s prospects in the trade.

      • djh

        I could see Greinke to LA, Billingsly to NY and prospects to KC. If we are justt gonna spit ball I think this is in the realm of possibilty

  • Mike HC

    With the three Killer B’s, Romine, Nunez, Heathcott and I’m sure others I don’t even know about, the Yankees should be able to find a damn good starting pitcher if either Lee or Pettitte do not return, while also holding onto Montero, Hughes and Joba.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      I would include Joba in a deal before our top tiered guys. Yes it’s odd considering he made it to the majors but he’s going to get wasted in the 6th inning yet again.

      His value isn’t that high but it’s almost unfixable. And in this market Vin Mazarro got good trade value so Joba isn’t exactly worth peanuts.

      • Mike HC

        I guess Joba would not be a deal breaker if we some how lose out on Lee especially, but he is going to be a major part of our bullpen and hopefully pitch around 70+ innings. I don’t think it is smart to subtract that, plus other top prospects, when we can just give up top prospects.

        • JobaWockeeZ

          That depends on his usage. Do they jump him from middle releif to high elverage situations? Maybe, maybe not. But if he’s stuck as a 6th inning releiver get him out of here. The value that brings is little. I love WAR but his WAR last year was based on his FIP which negated a lot of the runs Joba gave up.

          Give him to a team that develops him and get something out of him.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    The Twins want to compete now. Liriano probably came up and died down quickly. I don’t expect much from this. He’s their only good starter.

  • djh

    I wonder if the Yanks are more willing to deal Montero then some people feel.

    Beacause guys of Liriano’s ilk is definetly going to cost players like Montero, ManBan +, and I’m sure the Yanks know that before calling.

    I guess all we can do is wait and see and hope Lee chooses NY so we don’t have to pay thru the nose in prospects.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      If they miss out on Lee I fully expect Cash to take his phone and mass text every baseball executive that Montero is available.

      • FIPster Doofus

        Agreed. If Lee stays in Texas, I’ll be very surprised if Montero is a Yankee when pitchers and catchers report in February.

    • Don

      I don’t think the Yankees envision Montero as a viable option for catcher. Unless he learns to play OF, 1B, or 3B, he will probably be a DH a la Victor Martinez. With all of the age on the Yankee roster, a 21-year old DH is the last thing that is needed. A 21-year old catcher would be ideal, however.

    • the Other Steve S.

      So wher would Montero play in the Twins lineup?

  • mike

    what would it take to land Liriano? it would most certainly include one if not two of Betances, Banuelos, and Brackman

    • FIPster Doofus

      Probably more than anyone would be willing to give up. No reason for Minnesota to trade its ace at the moment.

    • Not Tank the Frank

      I think a realistic deal involves Hughes plus Banuelos or Brackman. As stated in the article, the Twins want to upgrade their rotation so trading away Liriano would mean getting a major league pitcher in return (Hughes) plus a top pitching prospect; that’s just to start. I chose Banuelos and Brackman because one is left handed and probably the safest bet to reach the majors while the other is the closest to being major league ready.

    • Reggie C.

      Ehhh … One of the killa Bs? Those guys would be COMPLEMENTARY PIECES to the package. Think Hughes + Montero + a killa B.

    • Mike HC

      I think giving up Hughes and Montero is ridiculously too much. We would probably have to realistically trade Montero, although I would prefer Bunuelos, Betances, Nunez, Heathcott type deal. Who knows what each team is willing give up/accept.

      • peteypabs

        Agreed.Giving up Hughes and Montero is ridiculously too much unless we are getting Felix Hernandez or Josh Johnson in return. Soriano is good but not worth that package.

  • Mike

    Liriano? They’d probably ask for Cano. No thanks.

  • Adam Wolf

    Ok, lets be realistic. The Twins will not likely be looking to deal Liriano. Edwin Jackson would make a decent 5th starter and Floyd a fine 2/3, but what are some other realistic possibilities if Lee goes elsewhere?

    • FIPster Doofus


    • JobaWockeeZ


  • Reggie C.

    If Minny is going to dish out another large contract extension, it’ll be to Liriano. This is very much a pipedream.

  • BJB

    Long shot, but a way to rival the red sox pick ups if the Yanks strike out on lee would be Wainwright. The Cards are trying to lock up Pujols Long term major dollars. The Yankees will eventually be in the market for Adam anyway, the Cards could use the young catching prospects. It would be a nice fit. However, a more then unlikely break.

  • Dave

    Said it yesterday, will say it today, and then again tomorrow.


  • BJB

    well said Dave well said we gotta talk to cashman !

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