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.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.