|Francisco Liriano is to be paid $4.3 million in 2011.|
What intrigues me most about this is that the Twins opted against pursuing a multi-year deal. General manager Bill Smith, as quoted by blogger Seth Stohs:
"We are going to go year-to-year with Liriano, at least for one more year. We definitely recognize the risk in doing that and if he has another big year, it will cost us some money.”
Interesting. Liriano doesn't become free-agent eligible until after the 2012 season, and relatively few players agree during their arbitration years to contracts that eat into their free agency years, but last winter the Twins brought out the arbitration rights of Scott Baker and Nick Blackburn, and they've done the same with other pitchers (Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain) in the past.
But not Liriano.
Now, maybe Liriano and his agent are also inclined to go year-to-year in hopes of a big season. But Smith's quote implies that the team has decided it's better off not making a major commitment to the lefty.
The risk is obvious. Liriano's record has not caught up to his stuff and his leading indicator stats. If/when it does, as Smith says, "it will cost us."
The inference I draw: The Twins doubt that Liriano will stay healthy. He's already lost two seasons of his young professional career to arm miseries. He is not a master of repeating his delivery.
I really wonder how seriously the Twins will try to retain Liriano when he hits free agency. If they're not eager to buy out his arbitration rights now, I doubt they'll make a four-year, or even three-year, commitment to him down the road.