ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 06: Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins leaves the game against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on July 6, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
When people speculated about a return for Francisco Liriano, they spoke about Nick Maronde (that was me) or Josh Hellweg (that was Brandon; Hellweg was part of the return for Zack Greinke). When Terry Ryan pulled the trigger on a trade with the Kenny Williams and the White Sox, the bounty wasn't headlined by anything quite so promising.
Reality check: Liriano wasn't nearly as valuable as we thought he was. If the best offer was from a team in your own division, nobody wanted him as much as we thought they did.
|2012 - Francisco Liriano||3-10||22||17||0||0||0||0||100.0||89||63||59||12||55||109||5.31||1.44|
Can a trade still be bad if what you end up with, while disappointing, was the best available offer? (That's rhetorical and philosophical. Let's not bother to answer that now.)
At 23, Escobar is a light-hitting, mediocre (at best) middle infielder. This year for the White Sox he's appeared in 35 games, collecting 92 plate appearances for a .195/.275/.244 triple slash.
The good news: Escobar is loved by Baseball America, who has taken home the organization's Best Defensive Infielder award for the last four seasons (2009 - 2012). Scouting reports rave about his defensive abilities, which puts his highest possible ceiling as a weak-hitting Omar Vizquel. Which is undoubtably a bit of hyperbole in action.
In Hernandez the Twins have acquired a 23-year old lefty whose 17 innings at Triple-A look impressive this season, but whose decent minor league track record hasn't had an opportunity to show itself in just four Major League innings. He offers a fastball around 90 that he apparently locates well and pairs it with a plus changeup. The breaking ball, at least as of last winter, was still a work-in-progress.
Escobar looks like a role player, but there's a chance the Twins see some upside in Hernandez. He allegedly projects as a middle reliever, but with the exception of his 68 innings in Double-A this season he's posted solid strikeout rates and paired them with solid command. He seems to avoid base runners, in spite of regularly posting BABIP numbers that would make you cringe.
This isn't the deal we expected when we thought about losing Liriano, but that's our fault. The market obviously wasn't there for what we were looking for. Instead the Twins snagged a defensive wizard and a left-handed pitcher with something to prove.
Both Escobar and Hernandez will be added to the 40-man roster and assigned to Triple-A. P.J. Walters will be moved the the 60-day DL so that, along with Liriano, there will be room for the two 23-year olds on the 40-man.