Counting his last outing in AAA, Francisco Liriano's scoreless streak hit 20 innings. In those 20 innings, he has given up just 10 hits and struck out more than a batter per inning, 24 in all.
In his last 24 innings, Livan Hernandez has given up 14 runs, 32 hits, and gotten just 16 Ks. Yet it is Livan, not Liriano, who is on pace to start the second half of the Twins' surprising season.
Liriano must be called up from AAA when the All-Star break ends. He is finally dominating there the way the Twins' brass said he need to in order to secure his call-up. He can't do much more than 20 scoreless innings with 24 Ks, short of 60 Ks, of course. He is even probably past his Super 2 service time, so that conspiracy theory doesn't even matter anymore.
Still, the Twins rotation looks solid. Glen Perkins, the most likely victim of Liriano's return, pitched well against Detroit again tonight and doesn't deserve to lose his spot.
The only pitcher who hasn't looked at the top of his game so far this season is Livan, but the Twins will not simply cut bait on him. They will look for another sucker, I mean buyer, to take his contract.
The best option is probably Texas. The Rangers have had 12 pitchers start games this season, and only two have reached the innings minimum to qualify for league leadership. Of those two, Vicente Padilla and Kevin Millwood, Padilla is on the DL, and Millwood has a substantial injury history.
Yet even with their pitching issues, the Rangers find themselves just 6.5 games out of first place in the AL West. Livan could step in and help stabilize the rotation and certainly wouldn't be much worse than the Rangers' current three, four, or five starters.
Kansas City and Pittsburgh both make sense, but for a bit of an odd reason. Neither team is all that interested in Livan per se, but in what happens when he doesn't resign after the season.
Livan is pitching well enough that he might conceivably make the Type B cut off for free agents and yield a compensatory draft pick when he moves on after the season. Kansas City and Pittsburgh have nothing to lose this season by giving Livan starts, and could benefit from it in the draft.
For Twins fans, the partner and what the Twins get back in the trade is irrelevent. By losing Livan from the rotation, the Twins get Fransico Liriano back, and that is a better prize than anyone else will get in a deadline trade.