Since Francisco Liriano returned to the Minnesota Twins starting rotation, it was a foregone conclusion that if he pitched well, he was going to be traded by the July 31 Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline.
Liriano is a curious case to fans around baseball. Some days, he looks like Nick "The Incredible Hulk" Blackburn and gets shelled to all parts of the ballpark. Others, he looks like he's capable of winning a Cy Young.
Liriano is also like the zombie you can't get rid of in a horror film. Every time you think his career is dead, he comes back with an electrifying performance that has everyone scratching their heads. Liriano's Twins career just won't die.
The inconsistency of Liriano has been cited as a key reason the Twins would want to get rid of him. Also, with the Twins out of the playoff picture, it seems like it would be a good idea to deal any asset they would have in an effort to rebuild their farm system.
But that last statement reveals the problem with trading Liriano for prospects. The Twins have no help coming from the minor league system, and they can barely field five starting pitchers in their rotation who won't give up six runs in the first two innings.
While Liriano isn't the best pitcher on the staff by a long shot, there's at least a chance that the light bulb will finally click and he'll put together his best season to date. That's something you can't say about most of the guys the Twins have tried in the rotation this season.
It's easy to give Liriano the boot, but unless the Twins can get a gigantic return for him, it's not a smart move to remove a major league pitcher from a staff that doesn't have much outside help coming in the near future.