Detroit’s toughest opponent, the Chicago White Sox, in the Central Division going down the stretch just got a little tougher tonight when they added Francisco Liriano in a trade. The White Sox added the enigmatic left-hander to bolster a rotation that has already been pretty darn good. The deal gives the White Sox six legitimate starting pitchers, but could be soon as a prelude to another move, or just a way to give their star youngster Chris Sale a few less innings.
There has been some speculation that GM Kenny Williams was looking to move Gavin Floyd for a little more offense, and this deal with Liriano would allow him to do so. However, Chris Sale, who has been the best pitcher on that team has pitched more innings than he ever has, leading some to speculate the White Sox could go to a six man rotation in hopes of having Sale more fresh for the playoffs.
Regardless of what the White Sox choose to do, picking up Liriano does offer some flexibility on their roster, and they did so at a really cheap price. In return for Liriano, the White Sox sent utility infielder Eduardo Escobar and minor league pitcher Pedro Hernandez to the Twins. Neither player projects as a player of much impact. Escobar is known for his glove, and is likely to struggle to hit at the big league level. Hernandez does have a little bit of potential, however, his stuff is fringy, which I guess makes him the typical Twins starting pitcher.
The only Twins starter that doesn’t have fringy stuff is Liriano. Liriano has pitched much better as of late besides getting rocked by the White Sox lineup. His K rate is almost at 10/9, though he does walk a bunch too.
This is yet another rabbit pulled out of the hat for White Sox GM Kenny Williams. Liriano is a relatively high upside guy that he got at almost no cost. Even if Liriano fails as a starter, the White Sox got themselves a high strikeout pitcher that could be used in the pen down the stretch.