Detroit Tigers: Trading Francisco Liriano to the Red Sox Makes Sense
By Andy Patton
The Detroit Tigers may have more moves up their sleeves before the waiver trade deadline, which could include left-hander Francisco Liriano being dealt.
Three Detroit Tigers have cleared waivers and are eligible to be traded to any team: RHP Jordan Zimmermann, SS Jose Iglesias and LHP Francisco Liriano. Both Iglesias and Liriano seem very likely to be dealt, as they were profiled alongside Mike Fiers as potential August trade pieces.
Liriano, despite posting very pedestrian numbers this season, will be appealing to a lot of teams thanks to his elite numbers against left-handed hitters. While his 4.37 ERA and 7.25 K/9 are just average, Liriano has held opposing lefties to a .125/.222/.219 line. He boasts an 8.10 K/9 and a 0.80 WHIP, thanks to an ungodly .136 BABIP.
Plenty of teams could use some extra help in the bullpen, and LOOGY’s are almost always in high-demand. One team in particular that is currently devoid of any left-handers in the bullpen is the Boston Red Sox.
Shipping Up to Boston
Boston currently has left-handers Brian Johnson and Drew Pomeranz in the starting rotation while fellow left-handers Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez are on the DL. When those two return, it’s possible one or both of Johnson/Pomeranz move to the bullpen. That may alleviate Boston’s immediate need for a LOOGY, but Liriano still boasts better numbers against left-handers than either of them.
Similar to the Fiers trade, it’s very unlikely that Detroit will get much back if they ship Liriano to Boston. He is currently owed around $1.25 million for the rest of the season. If Boston is willing to take that salary on, Detroit would take a very low level prospect. If Detroit takes on the remaining salary, Boston may send back a mid-level prospect, but expecting someone even in Boston’s top 30 would be ambitious.
For fun, let’s assume Detroit takes on the remainder of Liriano’s salary and effectively ‘buys’ a prospect with it. Here are a few names to keep an eye on:
Dedgar Jimenez, LHP
Jimenez is a 21-year-old left-hander who has spent most of the year at Double-A. He has a 5.02 ERA and a 7.16 K/9 across 20 starts. He was much better in 2017, going 5-0 with a 2.91 ERA at AA. He’s big (six-foot-three, 240 pounds) and has already demonstrated good command of the strike zone. Detroit has a lot of right-handed pitching prospects, but could use more lefties.
Tyler Dearden, OF
Tyler Dearden sounds suspiciously like Brad Pitt and Edward Norton’s character from Fight Club. The 20-year-old is slashing a tidy .297/.364/.449 in Short-Season, not bad for a former 29th round pick. He does have high strikeout numbers, which is always a concern, but there’s enough intrigue here that he is worth taking a gamble on if the Tigers can get him.
The Detroit Tigers may have finished July with Iglesias and Liriano on their active roster, but it would be a surprise to see either of them donning the Olde English D come September. Such is the price of a rebuild.