I just read on Baseball Prospectus that because of their starting pitching depth the Twins would like to trade Boof Bonser or Phillip Humber. But, for the right deal, they would consider trading Francisco Liriano, among others. If it's true that Liriano could be had, the Reds should definitely try to get him. Liriano is not yet arbitration eligible and will make about $500K next year. He may be the best bargain in baseball next year as he could very easily be the next Sabathia or Santana (Johan, not Ervin, although Ervin was pretty good last year, too.) Last year, in triple A (after a bit of a rough start) he went 10-2 in 19 starts, with a 3.28 era. After his call-up in August, he went 6-1 in 11 starts and 65.2 IP. He gave up only 20 earned runs, 6 in the last game of the year, for a 2.74 era. He struck out 60 and walked 19. He missed all of '07 with Tommy John surgery, but his 180 strikeouts in 194 total innings last year show that he's back.
I expect Liriano to be among the top five pitchers in the A.L. next year if he's not traded to the N.L. He would be a terrific addition to the rotation and be the lefty starter they need. With Liriano, the Reds would easilly have the best rotation in the division, and might even be considered the favorite.
I don't know what it would take to get him, but the Twins need a third baseman (talks with free agent Blake broke off and they're now trying to trade for Beltre) and a shortstop. I would offer A-gon, Easy Eddy, and Homer as a starting point for Liriano. If it took a little more, I'd throw that in, too. I don't know if Eddy is good enough on defense for the Twins liking, but both he and A-gon would be upgrades for the Twins, and the Twins love to hoard pitching prospects.
Reportedly, Delmon Young is available too, so maybe the Reds could pull the kind of blockbuster that got Young to the Twins in the first place. Last off-season the Rays sent Young and Brendan Harris (of worst trade ever... for both teams fame) to the Twins for Garza and Bartlett. A-gon's better than Bartlett, and Bailey could be a Garza type. They'd have to throw in a bunch more to pull that off, though.
The Reds would have to do a lot of scrambling to put together a line-up if they trade Eddy and A-gon, but they have a lot of third-base prospects and could grab a veteran as a place holder. Too bad Russell Branyan already signed with the Mariners, but that's the kind of guy I'm talking about. Keppy could step right in at SS. For Liriano, though, that kind of scrambling would be worth it.
Mike Mussina, Hall of Famer
3 weeks ago