Despite sitting just a few games out of first place in the AL Central division, the Tigers need to sell high on Francisco Liriano.
According to a report earlier in the week, multiple teams have expressed interest in the veteran left hander. The Tigers signed Liriano to a one year contract in the offseason, so they won’t get a ton in return for him, but anything is better than nothing.
In 2018, Liriano has a 3-2 record with a 3.90 earned run average, 1.21 WHIP and 45 strikeouts in 10 starts. He could have five or six wins, but the Tigers’ bullpen has blown multiple leads late in Liriano’s starts. The Tigers shouldn’t wait too much longer to trade the lefty, because his numbers aren’t going to get much better and his value isn’t that high to begin with.
The Tigers traded a bunch of guys last year, including Justin Verlander, Justin Upton and J.D. Martinez. In return, they received a lot of infield and pitching help. If and when the Tigers do trade Liriano, they should target pitching and outfield prospects.
It’s unreasonable to expect an organization to trade a top prospect in a deal involving a 34-year old pitcher, but I do expect the Tigers to get a solid return. Left handed pitching is valuable, especially when playoff time rolls around. Liriano is a valuable asset for a team, because he can start games, provide long relief or be a nice set up man.
A good deal for the Tigers would be adding a solid pitching prospect and a young outfield prospect that has some upside. Young pitching is very valuable in today’s game, so bulking up the farm system with young arms is vital. The Tigers have the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft and also have some of the top young arms in baseball. Adding one more to a good stable would set the organization up for a great future.
The Tigers should move quickly with Liriano before his numbers take a dip. He’s allowed 10 runs in his last three starts, so moving quick is the right choice.
The Tigers will finish their series against the White Sox tomorrow afternoon before starting a four game series with the Angels on Monday. First pitch in tomorrow’s game is set for 1:10 p.m. ET.