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 Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.