The Twins and Francisco Liriano have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $4.3 million contract, according to the team’s Twitter feed.
Liriano requested $5 million and was offered $3.6 million from the Twins when arbitration figures were submitted last month, so the two sides ultimately settled at the exact midpoint.
The 27-year-old left-hander went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA over 31 starts last season, setting career-highs with 201 strikeouts over 191 2/3 innings. It has taken Liriano a while to find his footing after Tommy John surgery, but thanks to a sharp uptick in velocity last season, he began to resemble the emerging ace we saw back in 2006.
Liriano remains under team control though 2012, so the Twins still have some time to talk about a long-term contract extension.
While newly-acquired talent Danny Espinosa was off collecting hits for the Blue Jays against the Orioles, Marcus Stroman led a youth-filled roster against the Canadian Junior National Team in a split-squad game on Saturday. In the eighth inning, 17-year-old Canadian pitcher Braden Halladay took the mound to honor his late father’s memory against his former team.
Halladay accomplished just that, wielding a fastball that topped out in the low-80s and setting down a perfect 1-2-3 inning against the top of the lineup. No one batter saw more than a single pitch from the right-hander: Mc Gregory Contreras and Mattingly Romanin flew out to the outfield corners and Bo Bichette laid down a ground ball for an easy third out.
MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm has a fantastic profile of the high school junior, including his approach to the game and his attempt to do Roy Halladay proud while carving out his own path to the majors. “From a pitching standpoint, it was everything I could have asked for and more,” Halladay told reporters. “Especially now, every time I make mistakes, I still hear him drilling me about them in my head, just because he’s done it so many times before. From a mind-set standpoint, I don’t think with any bias that I could have had a better teacher.”