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.
Last month, free agent right-hander Bartolo Colon told reporters that he’d be open to taking a minor league deal in 2018, but only if he was guaranteed a return to the Mets’ system. The 44-year-old starter is nearing the end of a 20-year career, and it makes sense that he’d want to have one last hurrah in the city where he had some of his most productive years.
Now, Twins starter Ervin Santana tells Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, it looks like the Mets might also be open to a reunion. It’s doubtful that Colon has all that much left in the tank, especially following a combined 7-14 record and 6.48 ERA for the Braves and Twins last year, but he’s not necessarily looking to reproduce the 15+ win, sub-4.00 ERA totals of years past.
Instead, Santana says, Colon is seeking the opportunity to win just six more games. He’ll enter the 2018 season five wins shy of the all-time record for a Latin American-born player, and is hoping to claim that title for himself before he enters retirement in 2019. Former Orioles and Expos hurler Dennis Martinez currently holds the record after clinching his 245th win back in 1998. While it took Colon a full season of starts to come up with even seven wins in 2017, he’s only one year removed from a 15-win campaign in 2016. Provided that the Mets are willing to gamble on him again, the milestone may not be that far out of reach.