When the White Sox bumped Francisco Liriano from his start tonight in favor of Gavin Floyd, it was supposed to be a two-day move, with Liriano possibly pitching out of the pen against the Tigers and then starting Friday against the Twins.
That plan is out the window now. The White Sox announced that they’d go with Hector Santiago, Jose Quintana and Jake Peavy as their starters this weekend.
Liriano gave up hits to the only two batters he faced last night in his first relief appearance for the White Sox and was charged with two runs. He’s 2-1 with a 5.09 ERA in his eight starts since coming over from the Twins in July. He did pitch six strong innings against the Twins on July 31, allowing two runs and striking out eight in a no-decision, but the White Sox are obviously focusing more in on his recent struggles.
Santiago, who opened the season as the White Sox’s closer, will be making his third start of the year in Liriano’s place Friday. He beat the Twins on Sept. 3 by allowing one run in five innings, and he pitched four scoreless innings against the Royals on Sunday.
As for Liriano, he appears to have run out of time to impress potential suitors as he heads into free agency. There will certainly be teams willing to give him a shot this winter, but after back-to-back seasons with ERAs over 5.00, he’ll likely have to accept a modest one-year deal.
Tim Tebow isn’t letting go of his major league dreams just yet. The former NFL quarterback is slated to appear with the Mets during spring training this year, extending what initially looked like an ill-fated career choice for at least one more season. Per the club’s official announcement on Friday, he’ll join a group of spring training invitees that includes top-30 prospects like Peter Alonso, P.J. Conlon, Patrick Mazeika and David Thompson.
Tebow, 30, hasn’t taken to professional baseball as gracefully as expected. He batted a cumulative .226/.309/.347 with eight home runs and a .656 OPS in 486 plate appearances for Single-A Columbia and High-A St. Lucie in 2017. While that wasn’t enough to compel the Mets to give the aging outfielder a big league tryout, there’s no denying that Tebow brought substantial benefit to their minor league affiliates — in the form of increased attendance figures and ticket sales, that is.
Even after the Mets were booted from the NL East race last September, they resisted the idea of promoting Tebow for a late-season attendance boost of their own. That’s not to say they’re planning on taking the same approach in 2018; Tebow will undoubtedly get his cup of coffee in the majors at some point, but for now, a Grapefruit League tryout is likely as close as he’ll ever get to playing with the team’s big league roster on an everyday basis.