The 2012 Twins sucked. They just sucked and you know what, sucky teams make sucky trades with sucky players.
The Trade: BREAKDOWN!
The Minnesota Twins traded Francisco Liriano to the Chicago White Sox for Eduardo Escobar and Pedro Hernandez.
Liriano didn't fare well for the White Sox. He struck out some dudes but walked a ton of dudes as well. He made just 11 starts for the White Sox and posted a 5.40 ERA. He left for Pittsburgh in the off-season, where he somehow re-blossomed at age 29. The man is baffling.
Hernandez and Escobar are end of the roster players who have each split time between Minnesota and Rochester. Escobar is a slick-fielding infielder with a weak bat. Hernandez is a lefty with good control who can't strike anyone out. Each could be moderately useful while their young and cheap. Neither rock.
How did I feel at the time?
Crushed. I had recently discovered the world of prospects. I found the Up and In podcast and enjoyed it. Kevin Goldstein and Jason Parks introduced me to the world of baby baseball players and I just loved the concept. I loved the promise, the tools, the hype and the hope. So, I convinced myself that the Twins would be dealing Liriano for some great prospect or at least some secret sexy prospect. Instead, they traded for a utility guy and a possible 5th starter. I was crushed.
Why make the trade?
Liriano had been rumored to be traded everywhere, including cities that did not have teams. This ESPN.com story explains why the White Sox wanted to make this trade. I guess.
The surprising Chicago White Sox have made a move to stay on top of the AL Central, acquiring left-hander Francisco Liriano from their division rival Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
What? I know all of those words, but that sentence makes no sense. Trading for Liriano to stay on top? Ok, whatever you say, guy. I bet the White Sox manager was so fired up that he wanted to go punch Nolan Ryan.
"I think (White Sox GM) Kenny (Williams) is just trying to do everything he possibly can to make us better pitching-wise," said Ventura.
I think that is probably a good assessment, perhaps. Clearly, the White Sox manager was not head over heels for Liriano. You can't blame him. Liriano had an ERA over five and had just recently been shelled. By the White Sox:
In his most recent start, the White Sox tagged Liriano for seven runs in 2 2/3 innings on Monday.
See? There were many that wanted the Twins to make a Liriano trade before that start could occur; basically petrified of what could and did happen. Before that start, the Twins might have gotten some good prospects. Just not from the White Sox because their farm system sucks. And they wouldn't have gotten good prospects.
What did Liriano's new teammates think?
"He just has to come here and be solid," said Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko. "He doesn't have to throw shutouts. He just has to give us a chance to win. That's all we're looking for."
Check. Walking over five per nine is solid, right? As least he managed to average just over five innings per start. Adam Dunn doesn't know what it's like to be terrible, so what does he think?
"Hopefully the change of scenery will help," White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said. "If he'll buy in to what we're doing over here, he can get back to what we know he's capable of doing."
I'm sorry, but that's nonsense. You can interpret it how you like, but that is just a bunch of nonsense.
Of course, this trade wasn't just about Francisco Liriano. It was also about hurting Eduardo Escobar's feelings:
"It's a tough one team-wise," Ventura said. "(Escobar) is kind of like a little brother or a son to most guys. He's taking it hard. It's just part of baseball. It happens to a lot of people. It will make us better though."
It's going to be so funny when the Twins finally make Escobar feel at home in Minnesota and then trade him to Miami.
Liriano was an impending free agent and he had basically worn out his welcome with the organization and the fans. He went from rookie phenom to injured star to a martyr of sorts within seven years. Near the end, he was being portrayed by commentators as some sort of wild stallion who needed to be tamed by the immortal Drew Butera. Liriano was very inconsistent, but his talent was tantalizing. In reality, Liriano's 2012 season was a microcosm of his career. There were wild ups and downs, but ultimately he did not meet the hype and did not fulfill his promise. Sad.
On the positive side, the Twins did turn an impending wild stallion of a free agent into two future MLB players. Escobar may just be a utility player at his peak and Hernandez may just be a lefty specialist at his peak, but those are roster-worthy players who can provide value for multiple seasons. When you think of it that way, it was not a bad trade. Basically, the Twins turned two months of Liriano into two guys who can play. Of course, the Twins are probably super pissed that Liriano has reinvented himself in Pittsburgh. Oh well.
Who won the WAR?
Hernandez with the Twins: -0.2 WAR
Escobar with the Twins: 0.2 WAR
Liriano with the White Sox: 0.3 WAR
WAR won by the White Sox! Thus far...
One Sentence Summary
Francisco Liriano is pitching really well for the Pirates, in case you had forgotten.