The Twins and Francisco Liriano should reunite

The bullpen could certainly use him.
Author:
Publish date:

In the words of the of the great Michael Scott, "It takes a big man, to admit his mistake, and I am that big man."

During spring training, I profiled the Twins' bullpen being a unit of strength for the team this year. Well, I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Trevor Hildenberger was sent to Triple-A, Adalberto Mejia was a disaster, Fernando Romero isn't what the Twins hoped he'd be yet, Addison Reed is collapsing in on himself like a dying star in the minors and Trevor May and Blake Parker have been adequate relievers at best.

Outside of Taylor Rogers, no one in the bullpen has been reliable in terms of getting big-time outs and the Twins need to address this sooner rather than later.

Although Minnesota's new regime of Derek Falvey and Thad Levine weren't around when he was here, former Twins lefty Francisco Liriano is an ideal candidate they should target.

Liriano is in his second stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates, but this time as a full-time reliever. In 18 games this season, Liriano has allowed one run in 19 innings with 22 strikeouts, eight walks and a WHIP of 1.105

Opponents are hitting just .183 against him and he's striking out 27.9% of the batters he's faced. He's easily been on the best relievers in baseball this season.

The southpaw has a fastball that still hovers around 92.7 mph, and his slider is still just as devastating as it was when he became an All-Star with the Twins in 2006. 

Jumping from the National League shouldn't be much of an issue for him either, as he's spent the bulk of his career pitching in the American League.

At 35, Lirano is no stranger to the trade deadline, having been moved three times during his career. He was part of the 2016 Blue Jays squad that reached the ALCS and he was a member of the 2017 Astros team that won the World Series.

So he has postseason experience, which would be a welcomed addition to a Minnesota unit that hasn't been there.

Liriano signed with the Pirates on a minor-league deal in the offseason and earned a job out of spring training. The Pirates are two games over .500 in a crowded National League Central division where they sit in fourth place.

They might not be ready to sell right this second, but that division looks to belong to the Cardinals and Brewers as the season progresses.

Although good relievers are hard to come by, given his age and where the Pirates are at right now, it's unlikely Pittsburgh would ask the moon and stars in return for Liriano.

Thankfully, the Twins' offense and even their starting pitching has kept them in games through the first quarter of the season, but it's obvious they need help in the bullpen.

They nearly blew a four-run lead in the top of the ninth to the Angels on Wednesday. Even with the Twins enjoying a 4 1/2-game lead on the Indians in the division, those are games they can't let slip away.

Liriano certainly isn't Josh Hader or Aroldis Chapman, but he's a competent veteran reliever that would immediately bolster the bullpen.

Next Up

Related