When the Tigers signed Francisco Liriano to a one-year deal in February it was a low-risk move for the rebuilding team.
The low risk of Francisco Liriano seems to be paying off as Liriano nearly pitched another no-hitter yesterday. During that pitcher gem Bob Nightengale, of USA Today, reported that several teams have inquired for the starting pitcher.
Through 52.2 innings of work, Francisco Liriano has a 3-1 record with a 3.42 ERA for the Olde English D. He’s also posting his best ERA+ since 2006.
Jon Heyman, of Fan Rag Sports, posted his list of team needs and target players to fill that need. Naturally, Liriano is over all that list.
Heyman lists the Angels, Diamondbacks, and the Mariners as teams with Liriano on their wish list. The Diamondbacks and Angels have other pitchers on their wish list. Liriano might be lower down on their lists, especially with Dan Straily and Michael Fulmer on their respective wish-lists. Liriano is top of the Mariners wish list according to Heyman, so he might end up playing in Seattle.
With the Tigers rebuilding and the AL Central in a complete state of disarray, it doesn’t make sense for the Tigers to keep him around. The Indians are in first at 22-23, the Tigers are 2.5 games behind and they’ve been beating up on the White Sox and Royals.
Getting a younger pitcher that they can keep around longer would be worthwhile for the team. However, the trade deadline is over a month away and Liriano could continue to pitch well enough to raise his trade chip value.
Noteworthy though is how Liriano performs after he’s traded away. As MLB Day Dish points out, after he was traded in 2012 to the White Sox he posted a 5.40 ERA. Then in 2014, the Astros traded for Liriano and he posted a 4.40 ERA in relief appearances. They also point out that he posted a 2.962 ERA after being traded to the Blue Jays in 2016.
Teams have shown strong interest in the Tigers, though we don’t know what ones. With how well Liriano is pitching the Tigers have the opportunity to stockpile more prospects. They won’t be blue-chip prospects, but neither was Josh Hader when the Brewers acquired him. Now Hader is generating CY Young chatter.