As first noted by Mike Axisa of MLB Trade Rumors, the White Sox acquired lefty starter Francisco Liriano from the Twins on Saturday night for infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-hander Pedro Hernandez.
Liriano drew trade interest from the Angels, Orioles, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Mets and Braves in recent weeks, but it was the Pale Hose and GM Kenny Williams who were able to figure out a deal.
Liriano, a 28-year-old impending free agent, has registered a poor 5.31 ERA and 1.44 WHIP in 22 appearances (17 starts) this season, but he’s fanned over a batter per inning and put together dominant stretches at times. The first-place White Sox will hope that he can get hot and stay hot through October.
Escobar, 23, was hitting just .207/.281/.276 in 36 games this season for Chicago and doesn’t carry much upside. Hernandez owns a 3.42 career ERA and 1.24 career WHIP in five-plus minor league seasons, but he doesn’t have great swing-and-miss stuff (7.6 career K/9) and projects as a mediocre MLB starter.
It sure seems like a low-risk deal for the White Sox. And one has to wonder whether the Twins could have done a little better in a return package had they waited for the July 31 trade deadline to draw a little closer.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.