What if? It is a question asked much too often among sports fans. This time, however, it is legitimate.
The Minnesota Twins were a very talented, balanced, and well-coached team last season. So, what if Francisco Liriano had even a semi-productive '09 season? Would they have made the World Series or possibly even won it? I think so.
In 2006, Liriano posted a record of 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA. This past season, he simply didn't have it, night after night. Cisco started 24 games, only won five of them, put up a ridiculous 5.80 ERA, and single-handily butchered my fantasy team.
Eventually, Rob Gardenhire decided that he had enough and stuck him into the bullpen.
The culprit behind this poor turnaround is most likely the Tommy Johns surgery that he underwent in 2007. I don't know how much that hurt him, but he hasn't been the same pitcher since. So, what next? Will Liriano return to dominance and fulfill his mission as Johan Santana's replacement?
The simple answer: Who knows? All we can do is hope that No. 47 becomes the great, all-star caliber hurler that he was supposed to be and who we all see him as.
Come on Cisco, we haven't given up on you yet.