Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Leave Liriano Be

The only thing more ridiculous than moving Francisco Liriano to closer is thinking that Carlos Silva's four shutout innings today for the Cubs isn't an aberration. And, let's be honest, that is pretty damn ridiculous.

Liriano is most valuable to the Twins as a starter. He proved his maximum worth in 2006, and while that level of success will be nearly impossible to replicate, if Liriano can pitch anywhere near that level, he will be a legitimate number one starter.

And number one starters? Slightly more valuable than closers.

While it is true that Liriano has the skill set that could translate into being a very good closer, that skill set is much more valuable to the Twins pitching six or seven innings instead of one. Closers can be found, but a potential ace doesn't come around very often.

The biggest problem with making Liriano the closer, is that doing so must be done on the basis that he is back to pitching up (or at least close) to his full potential, because if he isn't, Liriano as a closer would be a disaster. And who, in their right mind, can justifiably say that Liriano at full form is more valuable as a closer than a starter?

Other than maybe the crack head who was arrested on my bus this morning (true story) nobody would possibly make that argument.

I don't want to say closers are a dime a dozen, but consider for a second where Joe Nathan came from. He had never closed a game in his life, and while he was coming off a solid season with the Giants, there was very little to suggest that he would become one of the most dominant closers in the league.

Yes, it is impossible to expect the Twins to catch Nathan-lightening in a bottle with whoever they decide to put in the role, but they can find someone to do the job without screwing with Liriano. Hell, even Latroy Hawkins had 11 saves last year.

The fact is, closers can be made. Number one starters cannot.

While it is impossible to claim Liriano will become an ace again, it is far more beneficial to the Twins to let him try.


  1. Additionally, even if he pitches in between total dominance and '09 Liriano, a 4.00 ERA is far more acceptable from a starter than a closer.

  2. If it is impossible to claim Liriano will become an ace again, why not "make" him into a closer so we can get some value out of him?

  3. Because it is equally impossible to claim he will be a great closer, and if he is pitching up to his potential he is most valuable as a starter. If he isn't pitching well, he would be a bad closer, and if he is pitching well, he is far more valuable as a starter.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. I am dream of 2006 like pitching from him but realistically I hope for something like this: 15-8 with 3.5 ERA and taking the ball every 5th day all year.