Liriano has of course had a bevy of injury issues so far in his career, but when he’s healthy he’s a legitimate #1 starter on just about every team in baseball. He’s a strikeout and ground ball machine, and those guys just don’t go on trees. It’s not clear whether Nightengale was reporting something he heard from sources in or around the Twins organization or merely speculating on what the Yankees would have to give up, but suffice it to say that if the Yankees actually can acquire Liriano for a package centered around Nova or Joba, the Twins would be selling exceptionally low on a guy who was one of the 5-10 best pitchers in the American League last season.
I took some heat a while back for saying I wouldn’t be excited about trading Manny Banuelos for Liriano, and the more the situation develops, the more I think that’s a pretty solid position to take. Aside from Liriano’s injury history, its just hard to get over how willing the Twins are to trade this guy if these reports are accurate. After all, Minnesota is a team that’s in a position to get to the playoffs this year and probably next year as well, so it doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense for them to trade away their best starting pitcher with two years of team control remaining. If they would really give him away for Ivan Nova this season, the Twins front office has either lost their minds, or there’s some other reason they’re so willing to get rid of Liriano. And that sends up some red flags with me, warning signs that would at least make me think long and hard before I parted with one of my elite, near major league ready prospects.