Sunday, February 06, 2011

Twins decision to go year-to-year with Liriano a prudent one


After last season’s performance, it seems that most have come to the consensus that Liriano has the stuff and potential to be a number one starter on almost every team in baseball. His velocity, slider and command were all refunded to him and he followed up an abysmal 2009 season, where he went 5-13 with a 4.87 FIP while allowing 21 home runs, with a year that earned him the Comeback Player of the Year, going14-10  with a 2.66 FIP and just nine home runs allowed.

Many analysts speculated and called for the Twins lock in this kind of young talent for several years to come. Signing him now would buy out his remaining arbitration years and be able to keep the cost of his first year or two of free agency down. Although this proposal makes complete fiscal sense, the front office, much to the chagrin of those analysts, decided it was best to remain flexible with Liriano – agreeing to a one-year, $4.3 million contract over the weekend.   

His standard numbers do not do his dominating 2010 performance justice. For example, his 12.4% swinging strike percentage was the highest in baseball, not only that, but hitters chased after 34.4% of all of his pitches out of the strike zone, the fourth-highest in baseball. Not surprising then was that his 9.44 strikeouts per nine innings pitched was the second highest in the AL. Meanwhile, contact was futile  exercise as Liriano’s 0.42 HR/9 was also the fourth-lowest in baseball – which would have been lower had he not had those two bad starts at the end of the year. I could continue prattling off the data but in the end all of it suggests that Liriano has the very real possibility of being one of the game’s best pitchers in 2011.

Of course, there is that very real possibility of another injury too. The injury data list is almost as equaling depressing as his above stats is impressive. While we grow enamored by the possibility of Liriano repeating or besting (considering his BABIP level in ’10) those results, there also exists the prospect that he finds himself in and out of doctors’ offices.

Back in the minor leagues, Liriano missed a significant amount of time due to shoulder injuries. In ’02 he made just 16 starts while making just five the following year. His health rebounded the following two years but then he encountered some more serious ailments. According to his chart found at BaseballInjuryTool.com, Liriano experienced “elbow soreness” in July 2006 that sidelined him for nine days. That begat what was described as “forearm soreness” in August that eventually led to his Tommy John surgery. Although his 2008 was injury-free, in 2009 he had “forearm swelling” that took him out of action for 11 days then was placed on the 15-day DL with “elbow fatigue” in August of that year, missing 22 days when he required a cortisone shot. This past season, Liriano reported “arm fatigue” in August and took a week off.

Over the years, Liriano’s mechanics have been dissected and often cited as a probable cause for his extensive injury history. As an outfielder converted to a pitcher in the Giants organization, Liriano’s motion always seemed to be more short-armed than most. Prior to his 2006 injury, he would raise his throwing arm above his shoulder level before coming home with the ball. During his rehab in the winter of ’07, the Twins followed his bullpen sessions and there was some discussion of altering his mechanics as La Velle E Neal reported:
“There has been talk of tinkering with Liriano's mechanics, but pitching coach Rick Anderson said it might be some minor things to eliminate Liriano's violent follow-through.”
When he returned to the mound in Minnesota, Liriano had indeed abandoned that higher arm raise for one that was below his shoulder level – whether or not this was an intentionally ironed-out kink by Rick Anderson or another Twins staffer or simply a byproduct of his surgically repaired elbow is unknown. Nevertheless, in 2008, Alex Eisenberg at Baseball-Intellect.com identified the major delivery difference:

(via Baseball-Intellect.com)
Then there is the question of what he’s throwing rather than how he’s throwing it.

In studying his mechanics back in 2008 Chris O’Leary, in his assessment of the adaptations Liriano made post-Tommy John, made this comment:
I should mention that I think that a major cause of Francisco Liriano's elbow problems was his reliance on his hard slider. Combine the slider, which is probably the worst pitch for the elbow due to the forceful supination, with questionable pitching mechanics and you have a recipe for disaster.
Although he maintained a high percentage of sliders in his first two years back (26.6% 2008-09) from Tommy John, he seriously dialed up the usage this past season. In his first year back with uninterrupted health, Liriano was one of the most prolific slider throwers in the game. In fact, 33% of his pitch selection in 2010 was sliders, the third-highest dosage among starting pitchers behind just Ervin Santana and Ryan Dempster.

There is an on-going debate on whether or not throwing sliders takes a bigger toll on a pitcher’s arm versus the other assortment of pitches. One study conducted by Dr. James Andrews and Dr Glenn Fleisig (among others) found that there was no conclusive evidence that showed that a slider was any more or less damaging to a pitcher’s arm than a fastball, but they conceded that the small sample size gave no real insight to whether or not this is true. What they did find is that slider tends to have greater “shoulder proximal force than curveballs”. This is noteworthy because if a pitcher demonstrates improper timing in their mechanics and increases their shoulder proximal force, according to Andrews’s book “The Athlete’s Shoulder”, additional pressure is put on the bicep tendon-complex which increasingly leads to a SLAP lesion.

Now, while it is just as likely that Liriano manages to navigate the entire 2011 without any instances of injuries cropping up, there is also plenty of medical history and mechanical questions that would make any organization contemplating a long-term investment to pause for a moment. Will it be more expensive to sign him if he repeats his 2010 campaign next year heading into his final year of arbitration? Almost certainly, however with an additional year before he becomes a free agent, the Twins were afforded the luxury of progressing with him on a one-year basis to ensure that he can withstand back-to-back seasons of clean health before extending him.

Will it be more expensive to sign him if he repeats his 2010 campaign next year heading into his final year of arbitration? Certainly, however, it behooves the Twins to fork over additional money later in order to gain some assurance that Liriano can handle the workload rather than lock him up this winter only to encounter issues mid-season next year – in the form of a torn labrum or more elbow problems. Because of that, the added piece of mind is almost certainly worth a few million dollars to the Twins.

28 comments:

Anonymous said...

So if liriano has a healthy 2011 and becomes quite a bit more expensive is he really going to be less of an injury risk for future years? Hes still going to have a long history of arm injuries, hes still going to rely heavily on his slider, hes still going have a violent motion. If he stays healthy the twins will be paying a "few" million extra for fake piece of mind. Injury is a huge concern for any pitcher. But whether the twins sign him to a 4 year 40 this year or a 4 year 55-60 million next year, injury is still going to be a possibility

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

Injuries are obviously a "huge concern for any pitcher" but the Twins have one in Liriano that is covered in red flags. At the same time, he's made some mechanical adjustments that could led less arm injuries in comparison to his past (where his shoulder AND elbow were regular injured) and the jury is still out on to what extent sliders effect the arm. As I mentioned, the Twins have the luxury of waiting to see if anything manifests itself in 2011. If nothing does, buy out some of his free agency years with some assurance that he can maintain health and engage in a longer contract believing he can sustain an injury-free lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

My point was what exactly does an injury free 2011 change. If hes a huge injury risk this year hell be a huge injury risk next year. Hes not going to start using a conventional delivery, he is going to throw a lot of sliders. By waiting a year the twins are forfeiting a ton of leverage and i really dont see what they are gaining. Sure he might get hurt next year, but he could get hurt the year after next too. The idea that if he makes it through next year injury free he will have proven his durability is silly and so arbitrary. All those red flags are still going to be there.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

By waiting a year the twins are forfeiting a ton of leverage and i really dont see what they are gaining.

Leverage means jack if he gets hurt. Within the front office and field staff, there is the sentiment that he is a injury risk. There is no need to rush into a contract to save a couple million dollars on a four-year deal if you think the likelihood of missing significant time is high.


Hes not going to start using a conventional delivery, he is going to throw a lot of sliders...All those red flags are still going to be there.

I just got finished saying that some of those red flags may actually not be as bad as they appear. At minimum, he's improved his arm motions, keeping it at a level that many feel is not nearly as problematic as his pre-TJ arm motion. Likewise, the slider issue is up for debate. Some suggest that it is a issue while another study has said it does not.

Furthermore, I'll also suggest that next year, after several contracts are cleared off of the ledger, the team would be in a better place to figure out how much they can commit to him while at the same time allow him to prove that his mechanical alteration allows him to remain healthy. Luckily, the Twins are in the enviable position to not have to overextend themselves for multiple years quite yet.

Anonymous said...

"Leverage means jack if he gets hurt. Within the front office and field staff, there is the sentiment that he is a injury risk. There is no need to rush into a contract to save a couple million dollars on a four-year deal if you think the likelihood of missing significant time is high. "

Theres always going to be a chance he gets hurt. What if hes healthy next year, gets paid, and blows his arm out the next year. You cant honestly believe that him staying healthy next year is a solid indicator of his long term durability. All the same risk factors that exist today are going to exist next season. If they really believe the chances of him missing significant time are high this year than him defying those long odds shouldnt convince the twins hes a smart guy to invest in next year.

I dont see how him staying healthy next year makes him less of an injury risk. You've talked about liriano proving he can stay healthy as if its something he has a lot of control over. Did joe nathan not prove his durability after a handful of completely healthy seasons following his arm injuries? Then he blew out his elbow. This notion that the twins have the luxury of seeing liriano another year and if hes healthy then they can sign him long term with a peaceful mind is so misguided.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

You cant honestly believe that him staying healthy next year is a solid indicator of his long term durability.

Never said that. I said it would give the Twins a "piece of mind" (which you have globbed onto for some reason as if that was the point of the analysis). They clearly like to invest in their products that have demonstrated a track record of health - Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan. That is just how the FO operates. All showed years of success and health prior to getting their extensions. Then again, all of those arm experienced some injuries later on. The Twins obviously want to see more of the same from Liriano - and you can't fault them for that given his past, given his historically questionable mechanics and given his usage of the slider.

This notion that the twins have the luxury of seeing liriano another year and if hes healthy then they can sign him long term with a peaceful mind is so misguided.

Actually, they have another TWO years of luxury to see if Liriano can remain healthy. And they very well may use them both (I'd rather see them sign him long-term next off-season, but that's just me).

Does a full, healthy season in 2011 change anything long-term for Liriano? Yes, somewhat. It gives the Twins the added benefit of seeing if his new arm action can sustain the rigors of back-to-back seasons without complications. For this front office, that is a big deal.

Again, waiting the year only to have him make 33 starts and post a 3.00 ERA would increase his earning power, however, as I identified above, the Twins will have more resources available at that time.

I understand what you are driving at - that pitching is an inherent risk - I'm just not understanding why you believe that not signing him now is such a mistake?

Anonymous said...

I think its a mistake because i think it might be the twins last chance to sign liriano to a team friendly deal. A chance to sign a player who has a good chance of out perform the deal but is likely to sign because of the certainty it would provide. I dont think the wait and see logic makes much sense. I understand that the twins are concerned about his health and rightfully so. But the line of logic appears to be if he can stay healthy next year he will some how alleviate a lot of those durability concerns. But all the reasons to be concerned about his durability this year are still going to be there next year. Basically the twins are willing to pay liriano an additional 10-15 mil if he doesnt get hurt next year for the ability to cut ties with him if he does get hurt next year. Thats an expensive insurance policy to make on the chance a guy gets injured next year.

OB said...

Would an exceptional season out of Frankie result in a contractual difference of just a few million dollars? Frankly, I don't know, but my personal contention that now was the time to extend Liriano is premised on a long-term contract that would differ by more than a few million dollars given a 2011 that Liriano's peripherals suggest he will have.

Ultimately, I'm happy to read a cogent case against extending Liriano, but I do think this seals his fate as a Twin through 2012 (not beyond). A superb 2011 only heightens his price without allaying injury concerns. A poor 2011 and the Twins' prudence was wise, but 2012 won't have any bearing on Frankie's resultant wild unpredictability. I suppose the best case scenario for retaining Frankie long-term would be a repeat of 2010, but is that really to be expected? My thinking is that the only reason to not see Frankie's 2011 be what 2010's peripherals suggest is injury. I don't see room for much middle ground.

crystal awards said...

Great insight on things. Appreciate you sharing it.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

I think its a mistake because i think it might be the twins last chance to sign liriano to a team friendly deal.

If the underlying issue is simply money left on the table is the basis for calling the decision to not off Liriano a long-term deal now a mistake, I’m going to have to say it’s not a very convincing argument.

While I agree that now is a time to save money (if that is the ultimate goal), I’m actually not persuaded that it would save THAT much money to wait an additional year. You have referenced that a solid season would increase Liriano’s earning power to $15-20 million. There’s no way that with one more year of arbitration that Liriano’s camp can leverage the Twins that much – no way. If it goes to his walk year, that is a possibility but I suspect the Twins will feel reassured if Liriano makes it through two seasons without major complications. After all, when the Twins signed Santana in the middle of his second arbitration negotiations, he had just won the Cy Young award AND had proven he can pitch injury-free. They agreed a 4-year, $39.75M deal. I would expect an incremental increase in his earning power but not a tax bracket jump like that.

The notion that the Twins NEED to get players to sign a team-friendly deal is much of one that extends from the Metrodome era revenue structure. The Twins had to get Santana locked in because they didn’t have the resources. With Target Field and added money coming off the books next season, I believe they have the luxury of waiting to see if Liriano’s arm continues to hold up and then make a decision. The real mistake would be if they rushed into a contract with Liriano only to have him on the operating table in 2011 or missing a large portion of time. Of course, there is always the chance that he runs into a severe injury again, which is why delaying long-term commitment makes sense.

We can agree to disagree what seeing what another full year proves, but the Twins are not costing themselves that much by waiting another year.

Anonymous said...

"We can agree to disagree what seeing what another full year proves, but the Twins are not costing themselves that much by waiting another year"

Fine, say its 8 mil on a 4 year deal. My problem with the decision is they are actually getting almost no return for that 8 mil. What they think they are getting is fiction. Youre saying it would be a costly mistake if they give him a contract right now and he gets hurt next year but how is that any different that if hes healthy next year, gets a contract, and gets hurt the next year? All the risk factors are going to be the same. The twins may get some peace of mind after a healthy season but all they are getting is a relatively expensive insurance policy against liriano getting hurt next year because a healthy season is going to have almost no effect on his health the seasons after it. If the twins have serious concerns about lirianos health they should have less interest in signing him next year when those exact same concerns are still present and his price tag goes up.


"The notion that the Twins NEED to get players to sign a team-friendly deal is much of one that extends from the Metrodome era revenue structure"

This is simply the best way to do business. Obviously this is difficult to do but the twins are terrible at it. And even with target field the twins still adhere to a strict budget. So ill stop being concerned with saving a few million when the twins stop running players like hardy and hudson out of town so they can play alexi "replacement level player" casilla and the Japanese Matt Tolbert so they can save 6 mil. The twins are constantly buying high and waiting to see low and now they have a ton of players who are being paid more than they should be. Its not a good way to do business.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

All the risk factors are going to be the same. The twins may get some peace of mind after a healthy season but all they are getting is a relatively expensive insurance policy against liriano getting hurt next year because a healthy season is going to have almost no effect on his health the seasons after it.

Some of the risk factors are the same but you are ignoring the fact that Liriano has made real, tangible changes to his mechanics (in addition to speeding up his delivery timing) which some people think can keep injuries from reoccurring versus the delivery he had prior to the TJ surgery. In his first two seasons back post-surgery, he struggled with both velocity and control while using this new method. Peppering in the fact that he had some arm issues along the way – including this past season when he reported a “tired arm” not to mention finishing the season with a somewhat rough month of Sept/Oct – if you are in charge of the finances, you’d have to exercise caution.

You are fighting this based on a potential $2M a season for four years? How much more would it cost if he injures something next year and he’s locked into a four year now? Letting it play out is certainly worth that to a ballclub. Again, with the extra year of arbitration coming, I don’t see any really detriment to deferring an additional year.

It’s not that I’m against signing Liriano long-term. I get what you are driving at and if the Twins had happened to have extended Liriano for four-years, I would have endorsed the decision specifically because of the chance to save money but at the same time I would have also noted the striking possibility that he relapses into another injury.

So ill stop being concerned with saving a few million when the twins stop running players like hardy and hudson out of town so they can play alexi "replacement level player" casilla and the Japanese Matt Tolbert so they can save 6 mil.

Nobody ran Hudson out of town, that was inevitable and - from reports from within the clubhouse - he wasn’t exactly well-received by the rest of the team.

I liked Hardy and had advised not to let him go, however, I am intrigued by the potential of Nishioka (who cannot be described as a Japanese Matt Tolbert – at least not yet) and Casilla has put up decent numbers in the minors – at least by on-base percentage standards.

Anonymous said...

Division in the ranks of the TwinsCentric group! I like it!

PinkiePinkerton said...

Anonymous (pick a name god-dammit) said:

"If the twins have serious concerns about lirianos health they should have less interest in signing him next year when those exact same concerns are still present and his price tag goes up."

This ^

I understand the prudence of going for a year with him, but I think 1981, you are underestimating the bump to his value based on a repeat of 2010, not to mention the likely improvement that he makes to his traditional stats in 2011. Part of the reason to lock him up now is that his front office(FO) stats were not as good as his metrics. They likely do not understand the real value of having Liriano on the mound every 5th day. He was arguably the best pitcher in MLB last year. The fact that he did not have anywhere near the best production in MLB makes his value to an archaic front office much lower. And Liriano would likely sign an extremely team friendly contract for the certainty.

Now, back to the contract price. If Liriano merely repeats 2010 and his FO stats come in line with his metrics, his value may only go up $8mil over those four seasons. However, if he improves his production even a little on what his 2010 metrics suggest, his price tag goes up at least $10mil and we start counting from there.

Fianlly, the Twins mis-time signings constantly. Going back to Cuddyer, they bought high based on the FO stats. They did the same with Blackburn as well. You could even argue that the Mauer contract was poor timing. Morneau was good as was Baker.

My point is that I would rather sign that extension when a guy underproduces his performance (Baker) than vice versa (Blackburn). Liriano's price tag only goes up from here, barring injury of course, which will be the same level of risk regardless of when they contract is signed.

Great discussion.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

you are underestimating the bump to his value based on a repeat of 2010, not to mention the likely improvement that he makes to his traditional stats in 2011. Part of the reason to lock him up now is that his front office(FO) stats were not as good as his metrics. They likely do not understand the real value of having Liriano on the mound every 5th day. He was arguably the best pitcher in MLB last year.

You don't have to repeat any of that to me -- you can read about it here: http://www.startribune.com/sports/twins/blogs/98614339.html or you can read more about it in my forthcoming article on Liriano's stuff in the soon to be release Twins Annual 2011 (pre-order here: http://www.maplestreetpress.com/index.cfm?book_id=109) -- however, what most people are doing is overestimating the fact that he will be healthy. So while the FO may be undervaluing what it means to have him on the mound every 5th day (but believe me, they know what they have), they also understand what it means to pay him and NOT have him there every 5th day. There is a very real possibility that he won't be healthy in the near future. In that sense, it is a prudent, cautious move by the front office.

If Liriano merely repeats 2010 and his FO stats come in line with his metrics, his value may only go up $8mil over those four seasons. However, if he improves his production even a little on what his 2010 metrics suggest, his price tag goes up at least $10mil and we start counting from there.

With another year of arbitration left, you are overestimating what kind of leverage he will have. He's got a track record of injuries and recent ineffectiveness (albeit, stemming from the injuries) prior to last year. What's more, I don't even know where "at least $10mil" is coming from.

Fianlly, the Twins mis-time signings constantly.

What? They signed Michael Cuddyer after a fairly mediocre year - 2007 - even by his standards. I wouldn't call that "buying high".

Neither was Blackburn. He threw 200 innings consecutive seasons and they paid for him to do the same. No one expect him to mangle his mechanics, drop his slider and get hurt. On top of that, it's not as if they overpaid him either - he doesn't make over $5M until the 2013 season.

Mauer's contract was poor timing but that was because they were entering his FA year. He came off an incredible season and forced the Twins' hand. With Liriano, even if he has an incredible year, they have that buffer of his last year of arbitration.

Liriano's price tag only goes up from here, barring injury of course, which will be the same level of risk regardless of when they contract is signed.

Again, the Twins are hoping to see him fill out another season. SOME of the risk remains - as it will - but there is a level of reassurance that he can adapt to his new mechanics.

I appreciate the input and you make some valid points but from the Twins' perspective, I sincerely do not understand the dire need lock him up now.

Anonymous said...

"Neither was Blackburn."

Are you kidding me? The year before they gave him his contract he had a strikeout rate of 4.3 k/9 with a mediocre 45% gb rate. He had a fip and xfip of 4.37 and 4.56. He was 4 years from FA. Guaranteeing a player with so little ability any money was a poor decision. You honestly believe it was impossible to predict drop off from his 4 era? That deal has already cost them money, albeit not much, but if the fact that nick blackburn is terrible effects his results like it did last year going forward that contact could be terrible when hes a longman.

The way the twins give contracts to guys like span and blackburn and refuse to give a contract to a player like liriano frustrates me. Span and blackburn had bad track records, and have very little upside. They had 2 solid seasons and the twins unnecessarily eat up a ton of arb year at a price that would be reasonable if they maintained their level of play during their solid seasons. Neither of those guys had almost any chance of turning into stars and really burning the twins in arbitration and both guys were good candidates for regression. Best case they save a few million at the end of the contract and they gave up the ability to pay them less or cut these if they regressed towards their minor league track records or got hurt. Those contracts were totally unnecessary. Now liriano legitimately has the ability to really burn them in arbitration if he was a big year just like mauer did before the twins were forced to overpay him and the twins have no interest. Obviously there are injury concerns but thats what youre are wagering against a discount from liriano. Atleast theres something to be gained unlike the arb deals theyve chosen to sign all their other pitchers to.

Anonymous said...

Nick and Pinkie are making it sound like the Twins can somehow trick Liriano into a team friendly deal because Liriano and his agent don't understand advanced metrics.

Signing now to a long term deal would mean a more team friendly deal than signing him to a long term deal next year because the Twins would be assuming more risk. The dollars saved by the Twins are offset by the risk - there's no magical net gain in the Twins' favor. Liriano's agent isn't stupid.

What Parker is saying is that the extra risk the Twins would be taking on is a bigger deal in Liriano's situation because they believe his injury risk is higher due to his injury history and mechanics. And that makes complete sense.

Twins said...

RE: Blackburn Are you kidding me?

I'm not arguing the merits of whether or not the contract was a good decision. I went on record questioning it right away:

At 28-years-old, Blackburn is on the fringe of exiting what is accepted as a pitcher’s peak years (25-29) so it is possible the Twins have already been recipients of his best seasons and subtle decline will happen as he progresses into his 30s. On top of that, there is perhaps only one right-handed starter that struck out fewer than five batters per nine innings that had a lengthy career (Bob Tewksbury).

I'm talking about if the Twins were duped into "buying high" on him. In both cases, he put together two consecutive mediocre seasons by conventional statistics but managed to provide the Twins with 200 innings. Trying to find a pitcher that can consistently throw 200 innings has a lot of value - after all only 2 FA pitchers had thrown 200 innings the previous season (Pavano, Garland) and only Garland had done it more than once in recent history. Instead of tangoing with a market that often is overpriced for innings-throwers, the Twins locked one in at a relatively cheap price.

Furthermore, the FIP/xFIP you cited aren't egregiously out of whack to how his ERA performed. For those two seasons, it was a -0.34 difference - the same diff. as Gavin Floyd in that period. Again, I don't think anyone anticipated that he would struggle with his mechanics and stop throwing his slider altogether resulting if fewer swing-and-misses and strikeouts resulting in that putrid first-half of the season (with the exception of May).

As far as him being the long-man next season, I'm not sure I see it. With the exception to his second-to-last start in KC, he had a very good final month after coming back from Rochester. His delivery timing was back, his two-seamer was diving, he peppered in more non-fastballs - getting 7% s/m rate, much better than the 3% he held before the demotion. Certainly has to prove that he can maintain that in the spring but odds are, he's a probable 5th starter in 2011.

Anonymous said...

"What Parker is saying is that the extra risk the Twins would be taking on is a bigger deal in Liriano's situation because they believe his injury risk is higher due to his injury history and mechanics. And that makes complete sense."

Everyone gets what parker is saying. The opposing view point is saying that him staying healthy next year doesnt actually lower his risk of being injured over the life of a contract the only difference is the price tag goes up. Same risk, less reward. What the twins are buying is fake piece of mind.

"With the exception to his second-to-last start in KC, he had a very good final month after coming back from Rochester."

Im sure it would be nearly impossible to find solid 5 game stretches from baker and slowey, the two far more talented pitchers whose spot blackburn could take. I have no doubt blackburn will be in the rotation but thats mainly because gardenhire and the organization seem to really like him, which seems to trump talent a lot with the twins. In a pretty good case scenario blackburns strikeout rate rebounds to a horrible 4-4.5 k/9, even with his unbelievable timing and slider. Im certain he has no business starting instead of baker or slowey, but if you think blackburn is a good bet to stay on the right side of batted ball luck with his horrible strike out rate, good control and mediocre ground ball rate i guess thats your choice. Maybe we can ride the dominate power arms of pav, blackie and duensing to the world series.

Twins Fan c.1981 said...

Im sure it would be nearly impossible to find solid 5 game stretches from baker and slowey, the two far more talented pitchers whose spot blackburn could take.

It wasn't the results per se, it was how Blackburn achieved those results. That makes a gigantic difference.

if you think blackburn is a good bet to stay on the right side of batted ball luck with his horrible strike out rate, good control and mediocre ground ball rate i guess thats your choice.

(1) His GB% was 50.8% on the season and near 56% after his return from the minors.

(2) When is good control a bad thing?

(3)Strikeout rate was/is bad - but indications are that it was improving after his mid-season tweaks.

Anonymous said...

"(2) When is good control a bad thing?"

I was trying to be fair to blackburn and go through relevant pitcher information. The rest of the improved stats you note are irrelevant in my book because the sample size is irrelevant. I think nick blackburn is a bad pitcher. I think hes a 4.5 era with a thin margin for error. Those guys are very replaceable. Why he has a guaranteed contract and needs to be beaten out for his starting spot is beyond me. And I think youre kidding yourself if you think the twins didnt decide to sign him because of 2 fluky 4 era season that were supported by anything 3 years ago.

Anonymous said...

"The opposing view point is saying that him staying healthy next year doesnt actually lower his risk of being injured over the life of a contract the only difference is the price tag goes up. Same risk, less reward. What the twins are buying is fake piece of mind."

And this is wrong. If Liriano gets hurt this season, the Twins aren't on the hook for a multi-year contract. That is not fake PEACE of mind. That's real concrete risk avoidance.

To accept your premise, I would have to believe that a player's injury history is not at all a predictor of future durability. And that a player's track record of staying healthy is not at all a predictor of future durability.

Anonymous said...

"And this is wrong. If Liriano gets hurt this season, the Twins aren't on the hook for a multi-year contract. "

Ive already said that not signing him is essentially an expensive insurance policy against him getting hurt next year. He could make it through next season just fine and blow his elbow out the next season. If he doesnt get hurt next year I believe it says very little about the risk of him getting hurt in the years after next. Hes still going to have a serious track record of injuries, still going to throw a lot of breaking pitches, still going to have a violent motion. If the twins are exhibiting real concrete risk avoidance they should have no more interest in signing liriano to a long term deal next year than they do this offseason. But i suspect they will which makes this bad business.

"To accept your premise, I would have to believe that a player's injury history is not at all a predictor of future durability. And that a player's track record of staying healthy is not at all a predictor of future durability."

To accept my premise i think first youd have to do a better job understanding it. I dont think the his risk of re injury is actually going to change from this year to next, but the price tag will. The idea that if liriano can make it through this next year healthy he will have turned some magical corner and suddenly all the concerns over health will be gone is nonsense.Its super arbitrary and its artificial.

Anonymous said...

"I dont think the his risk of re injury is actually going to change from this year to next"

This is where we disagree. If you are correct, then how do you explain the concept of a 1-year make good contract?

Anonymous said...

"This is where we disagree. If you are correct, then how do you explain the concept of a 1-year make good contract?"

I look at those contracts as more an opportunity to prove that a player has recovered from injury more than a chance to show they are not a risk to get injured again.

Anonymous said...

According to Lying-in sources quoted in the times today, the government are the British rendering of the one-armed bandit auto. [url=http://www.onlinecasinoburger.co.uk/]casino online[/url] casino online appear out for the ok want to Take whether you require to act as in a trice-based environment or you want to download their node. http://www.onlinecasinotaste.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

Consequently, make it sure you reimburse the loan without having and ways to buy real estate investment with it [url=http://www.fhyxc.co.uk/]http://www.llplongtermloans.co.uk/[/url] long term loans Many well-known loan providers will never be essentially lenders, but are companies http://www.odogh.co.uk/

Anonymous said...

The final six months for your credit report are generally to look and find an excellent lender to your circumstances [url=http://www.pahiy.co.uk/]http://www.quickshorttermcarinsurance.co.uk/[/url] one day car insurance This is receiving interesting when you know more to be able to calculate a loan http://www.gddvf.co.uk/