Gardenhire: Francisco Liriano likely done for the season

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According to beat writer John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire informed the media on Sunday afternoon that left-handed starter Francisco Liriano is not likely to return to a major league mound this season.

Liriano was placed on the disabled list in late August with a shoulder strain. A visit with Dr. Lewis Yocum this weekend went smoothly and an MRI taken last week ruled out structural damage, but the Twins don’t seem keen on rushing back the 27-year-old southpaw to what has become a lost campaign.

Liriano posted a 4.84 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 24 starts this year for Minnesota, striking out 109 batters and walking 73 in 132 total innings. He is eligible for arbitration this winter and stands to earn a significant raise over the $4.3 million salary that he collected in 2011 despite the underwhelming results.

The Nationals expect Bryce Harper to test free agency

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Earlier this week at the Winter Meetings, Scott Boras said that he and the Washington Nationals had had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for Bryce Harper. Harper, of course, can become a free agent following the 2018 season and is widely expected to command the largest contract in baseball history.

While that may have given some Nationals fans hope that no other team would get the chance to bid on him, the Nationals are of the view that they have no shot to sign Harper before he at least tests the free agent market. From USA Today’s Bob Nightengale:

A lot of this seems like mutual posturing, doesn’t it? Boras trying to make it appear as though the he and Harper are giving the Nats a fair hearing and the Nats trying to make it appear as though, no matter what they do, Harper is going to hit the market. I tend to believe, personally, that Boras and Harper are hellbent on testing the market, but it’s possible that there is some number that the Nats can offer to head that off, right? Maybe?

Either way: big year ahead for Harper.