Posted by: gravessack | August 7, 2012

So Long Liriano and Valencia: The Twins Are Sellers

The Twins are selling! With their record currently at 48-61 and 12.5 games back from Chicago, they are all but out of playoff contention. Even though they have been playing better in the past month, the Twins early on fell far behind in the American League Central division. The club made one move before the July 31 trade deadline and one after.

After the game on July 28, the Twins sent struggling starting pitcher Francisco Liriano to the Chicago White Sox for two Minor Leaguers: shortstop Eduardo Escobar and pitcher Pedro Hernandez. Both players aren’t expected to be front-line players, but they both spent some time in the Majors this year. Liriano, who was 3-11 this year with the Twins, has struggled since his 2006 Tommy John Surgery. He never found his pre-surgery form and sometimes was painful to watch pitch. Liriano was demoted to the bullpen earlier this year.

Escobar, who can play most infield positions, has played in 35 games this year with the White Sox. He has batted .195 this season and was Chicago’s number 4 prospect. Meanwhile, Hernandez made his Major League debut on July 18, giving up 8 runs in four innings. Escobar and Hernandez were assigned to Minnesota’s Triple-A team.

During the August 5 game, third baseman Danny Valencia was sent to Boston for Minor League outfielder Jeremias Pineda. After Valencia’s great year last year, he stumbled and was sent to the Minors in May. Valencia was called back up last week, after Trevor Plouffe was put on the DL. In 34 games with the Twins, Valencia had a batting average of .198 and was not happy with the Twins organization. Pineda has never played at the Major League level, but has averaged .421 and racked up 22 RBIs this year for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.

As a result of sending Valencia to Boston, the Twins recalled infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka from Triple-A for the August 6 game, where he went 0-for-5. It doesn’t seem likely Nishioka will be going back down soon, as Ron Gardenhire is thinking about sending down shortstop Brian Dozier when Plouffe comes off the DL. I really hope that Nishioka finds his stride. And I won’t be surprised if the Twins make more moves this season.

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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