Why the Minnesota Twins Should Not Bring Back Francisco Liriano

Matt LindholmContributor IIDecember 7, 2012

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 7:  Starting pitcher Francisco Liriano #58 of the Chicago White Sox walks off the field after the second inning against the Kansas City Royals at U.S. Cellular Field on September 7, 2012 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
Brian Kersey/Getty Images

Francisco Liriano may return to Minnesota! 

I think not.

With recent reports (via Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com) that the Minnesota Twins have made an offer to former pitcher Francisco Liriano, one cannot help but wonder why.

Truthfully, the Twins should move on from Liriano.  They need to keep moving forward and improving their pitching staff this offseason.  Minnesota will find that there are better starting pitchers out there than Liriano.

First and foremost, consider Liriano's post-Tommy John surgery career.  Since then, he has gone 40-48, with a 4.68 ERA and 2.14 K/BB.  Prior to this career turning point, Liriano pitched a 12-5, with an outstanding 2.65 ERA and 4 K/BB.  

The truth is that Liriano has not been the same since his surgery.  Yes, the man won Comeback Player of the Year in 2010 and pitched a no-hitter game in 2011.  But if his 2010 season and 2011 no-hitter were subtracted from his post-Tommy John surgery career, he would have a 28-38 record, a 4.96 ERA and 1.9 K/BB.  That is not what the Twins need.

Undoubtedly, for what Liriano would earn and how he would perform in return, the Twins are better off spending their money on someone else.  

In 2012, Liriano earned $5.5 million and pitched a 6-12 record with a 5.34 ERA.  Currently, the field of free agency has several pitchers similar in age and salary who would outperform Liriano: Mike PelfreyDallas Braden and John Lannan.  The field of late-20s, $5-million-a-year, free-agent pitchers has more to offer than Liriano does.

Without a doubt, the Twins should let Francisco Liriano walk away.  His post-Tommy John surgery career is enough to demonstrate why the Twins need not sign him if they want to turn their starting pitching staff around.  The Twins front office needs to consider other late-20s starting pitchers who earn comparable salaries.  It will find that there is better performance out there.