Francisco Liriano: What Does No-Hitter Do for His Trade Value?

James Stewart-Meudt@@JSMeudtCorrespondent IIMay 4, 2011

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 18:  Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 18, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Greg Fiume/Getty Images

It took 123 pitches for Francisco Liriano to throw the first no-hitter of 2011.

It was the first complete game of his career and the Minnesota Twins had themselves a 1-0 win over the woeful Chicago White Sox.

For a 10-18 Twins team, this could be just the thing to get them going. The Twins find themselves 10 games back of the first-place Cleveland Indians.

If there was any pitcher on the Twins needing to make a statement, it was Liriano. After an impressive 2010 campaign, Liriano has struggled this season.

Heading into last night's action, Liriano was 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA. After the no-hitter, Liriano's ERA fell all the way to 6.61.

Liriano did walk six batters en route to the win, but a no-hitter is a no-hitter, even against the pitiful White Sox offense.

During the offseason, rumors were swirling about the Twins selling high on Liriano and shipping him off for prospects. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Twins are open to dealing Liriano and have no plans to sign him to a contract extension.

The Twins and Liriano avoided arbitration with a one-year, $4.3 million deal. Liriano reportedly wants a three-year, $39 million deal.

The New York Yankees are one team known to be interested in Liriano. Next year's free-agent class is very weak on pitching. C.J. Wilson, Mark Buehrle and Joel Piniero headline the starting pitchers (Buehrle is widely expected to re-sign with the White Sox).

If the Yankees have a chance to land a starting pitcher this year, they would be wise to do so. If they wanted to sign Liriano to an extension, $39 million over three years is, quite frankly, chump change for the Yankees.

With Joe Mauer on the DL and Justin Morneau's questionable health, the Twins could use a boost. The Yankees have incredible depth at catcher in their minor league system. A package for Liriano including top prospect Jesus Montero could provide the Twins with a solid catcher for the future and a chance to move Mauer to DH.

For now, Liriano's no-hitter has made him the flavor of the week. Unfortunately, it's still much too early for the Twins to trade Liriano, but that doesn't mean they can't make a few phone calls.

The New York Mets will also be shopping shortstop Jose Reyes this season. Reyes is entering the final year of his contract and could be too expensive for the Mets to re-sign.

Desperate for starting pitching, the Mets might jump at the chance to land Liriano in exchange for Jose Reyes. The Twins have reportedly soured on Alexi Casilla and Reyes would provide the Twins with an excellent leadoff hitter.

Reyes playing in Target Field would also be a triples factory.

The better Liriano pitches, the more he'll be worth in a trade. The no-hitter was fun to watch and great to see from Liriano. Hopefully it will give the Twins some momentum.

But if the Twins stay in the basement while Liriano builds upon last night's success, the Twins shouldn't be afraid to pull the trigger quickly.

Maybe the no-hitter was the first step toward a trade.


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