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The parade of reclamation/bounce-back pitcher rumors continues.

According to Jim Bowden (caveat emptor), the Chicago Cubs have an offer out to Francisco Liriano. There is no word on the amount of, length of, or even type of (I’m sure it’s a big league deal) offer, though. It could be a legitimate offer, or it could be a “feel it out” kind of offer to get a dialog going.

Liriano, who just turned 29, was always on the short list of pitching names mentioned when discussing the Cubs’ offseason. A former stud, Liriano is coming off of back-to-back disappointing seasons (80 ERA+, 1.1 WAR in 2011; 78 ERA+, 1.8 WAR in 2012), but that history of awesomeness remains tantalizingly just off the edge of the screen. In 2010, Liriano had a 3.62 ERA in 191.2 innings with a 3.47 K/BB and a 6.0(!) WAR. Wouldn’t it be nice to get that Liriano on a one-year-plus-option deal?

His problems the last two years are both easy to identify and completely of his own making. It’s the walks. Although he’d previously been able to keep his BB/9 generally under 3.00, the last two years it has rocketed past 5.00. You cannot be a successful big league starter with a walk rate like that (unless you’re striking out 15 per 9), and it becomes even worse when the rate at which you’re giving up gopher balls climbs … as it did for Liriano the last two years.

Does he make sense as a rebound candidate for the Cubs? Well, he certainly checks the “talented” and “down year” boxes. In his tremendous 2010 season, his groundball rate was one of the higher ones in baseball, but he hasn’t historically been a groundball pitcher. Maybe that was just luck. But obviously an improvement in his GB rate (just 43.8% last year) would play well at Wrigley Field. He’s worth a flyer as your number five starter if you’re not expecting to be competitive (as the Cubs aren’t). But he’s not a guy I’d commit two years and more than $12 million to. The last two seasons have been just so very ugly.

A few million in 2013 and a team-friendly option for 2014? Sure. That makes sense. Anything more than that, and I’d be circumspect.

Jed Hoyer recently mentioned that his preferred approach is to target early the guys the Cubs really want in free agency, and commit to them with full force (we saw it last year with very early rumors on David DeJesus and Paul Maholm). That the Cubs already have an offer out to Liriano suggests that he’s among their top targets, together with, presumably, Brandon McCarthy and Shaun Marcum.

  • https://twitter.com/sperls13 sperls13

    Personally, I would not classify this as the smartest rebuilding move.
    If this is true, makes ZERO sense.

    • bbmoney

      For heaven’s sake why not? Talented guy, buying low, cheap 1 or 2 year deal. Pretty much zero risk.

      • kmr1453

        Yes, Liriano is talented, but not consistent. Bosio will have his work cut out for him.

        • bbmoney

          I agree with all of that, but if he was as talented as he is and consistent, we might not be in the running.

          Either way, given the approximate $’s & years Brett laid out in my mind extremely low risk with quite a bit of potential reward.

    • http://www.hookersorcake.com Jade

      I think Liriano is a good buy low option. He’s an AL pitcher going to the NL. Those types usually fare well especially early. Of course it would be a mistake to pencil him in as a starter but I’m in favor of the Cubs having 5 guys competing for 3 spots. A guy like MarCarthy hopefully returning to form and making it 4 guys competing for 2 spots. That said I think Liriano, if all fails would be a good bullpen arm if the price is right and he’d be flippable.
      All it costs the Cubs is short term money. If it works the turn another Maholm into a top prospect arm.

      • Mick

        I like your idea of bringing in 5 SP’s to compete for 3 spots. McCarthy, Saunders, Liriano, Lannan, and Ryu would be my preferred 5. Your plan to move Liriano to the pen probably wouldn’t work though because if Frankie can’t hold down a rotation spot it will be because of control issues and that’s not what you want coming out of the pen in close game situations. The Twins tried moving him down to the pen periodically but only to get him work in blow-out situations.

        • Kubphan82

          I see two spots… Unless you’re assuming a Garza trade or TWood to not be a part of it… And to that I would say it’s still 2 spots until Garza is traded which most likely wouldn’t happen until midseason and that spot would be taken up by a waiver pickup, minors promotion, or from the trade.. And TWood WILL be in our starting rotation to start the season.

          • Jim

            I agree. There should be Samardjizda, Garza, and Wood. Then there should be guys like Rusin, Vizcaino, and free agent signings to go after the final two spots. If you have the depth and Garza shows as healthy, then you can deal from that.

          • Evan

            I am just thinking out loud but wouldn’t make sense to have Wood start the year in the minors? Although I really like Trais Wood and think that he is a solid option he is under team control through 2016 and could be used as depth if needed or if someone struggles could be called up. If Theo and Jed are fully comitted to a rebuilding process shouldn’t they fill the rotation with as many bounce back canidates as possible to try and get the most high end prospects back and build for the future. Obviously it would suck for Wood to start the year in the minors since he has shown he is capable of pitching in the big leagues, but with Garza and most likely whoever we sign moved at or before the deadline he would be called up them and we could get the most return.

            • Kyle

              Why not put Rizzo and Castro in the minors and try to find bounceback candidates at SS and 1b too?

              Wood is a useful MLB asset who needs MLB innings to continue to develop as a pitcher. There’s a point where the flip fetish becomes too clever by half.

              • Noah

                Kyle’s exactly right here. The Cubs put Wood down in the minors not only because of the option last year, but because they wanted him to work on some things to try to reduce his HR rate. At this point, he is what he is, and that’s a decent back of the rotation starter.

              • Evan

                Although I see your point it’s unfair to compare Wood to likes of Castro and Rizzo one is an All Star while the other one will probably be an All Star real soon. It was just a thought that popped into my head and was looking for feedback.

                • Kubphan82

                  I wouldn’t compare Rizzo to Castro, let alone TWood to Rizzo or Castro, or TWood to Shark…

                  That being said, I would continue to develop TWood at the major league level. It’s now about moving him forward and attempting to develop him into a solid 4/5, hopeful 3.

                  I don’t want to say the FO will be stubborn when wrong about a player, but they traded for TWood (while Torreyes may have been the prize) from within the division. They’re going to stick by their man, especially after he rebounded last season, IMO.

                  That doesn’t mean they don’t sign 4 arms: taking Liriano/Marcum and other players like Lannan/Villanueva on a split contract. They would all likely sign for the prospects of being able to pitch an prove themselves as they may have a more difficult time breaking with other clubs. Who knows if the Cubs perform well enough they all end up on a playoff Cubs team, or if we don’t perform they still have an opportunity to play for a different playoff team or at least show their value in another “contract year.”

                  • Evan

                    Yea I completely agree. My point was not to intentionally lose ball games like the cubs would if we moved Rizzo and Castro to the minors. It was more along the lines of that if the Front Office could sign 3 pitchers that they feel were of better caliber then Wood to fill out the rotation on one year or short term deals then thats something we should take a look at. The rotation would be better (but not bogged down because the short term deals) but also there is the possibility to move them at the deadline if the Cubs were to struggle. If they can’t find 3 pitchers that they like more then Wood on short term deals then obvioulsy I want Wood out there on the mound every 5th day.

      • Crazyhorse

        Signing Liriano is not a bad move, nor is it a good move its a gamble . Year One, Little Theo gambles produce a 100 plus lost season. those are the facts.

        • MichCubFan

          …and also netted us Arodys Vizcaino and Jaye Chapman… we were out of contention so the number of losses don’t really matter.

          We are a couple of years out. The sign and flip deal is a great way to add more talent to the organization.

          • Kyle

            We used, by count, two starting position spots and two rotation spots for one year on these flips, and got one really good probably relief prospect, and one fringey relief prospect.

            That’s not exactly a great conversion rate.

            • hansman1982

              Who are all 4 of the players?

              • Kyle

                DeJesus, Maholm, Stewart, Volstad

            • DoubleDown

              Do you mean fringy? Just curious as both words have different meanings.

        • Frank

          Another fact is that the organization, on the whole, is being positioned for future success with the front office expansion, scouting changes and expansion, better minor league and Latin America facilities, etc. Another fact is that Theo was clear on what was going to take place–a fullout teardown and rebuild of the entire system–and many, many posters here agreed with it until it started happening and they saw what that actually looks like. You can argue about whether or not that’s the best plan, or even a good plan, but the fact is, that was the plan, everyone knew it, and a 100 loss season was not out of the realm of possibility even in April. So to “those are the facts” my response is, “you’re right; we knew going into the season it would be all kinds of ugly.” And please stop with the “little Theo”–when you demean people personally, it doesn’t add to your credibility–it just makes you look bad.

          • Kyle

            “You can argue about whether or not that’s the best plan, or even a good plan,”

            Thank you. Now I have permission.

            Everybody who doesn’t like it when I argue that it’s a bad plan, take it up with this guy.

            • DoubleDown

              I thinkhis comment was aimed at Crazyhorse.

            • DarthHater

              P.S. I just gave Kyle permission to be a douchebag. So feel free to blame me . . .

              • DoubleDown

                Kyle is really good with baseball. Sometimes he strays over the line. But don’t we all?

                • Mick

                  If by good you mean he doesn’t walk batters, then he could agree to that.

                  • DoubleDown

                    You’re killing me.

                  • Kyle

                    I had a really, really good game at one point in my life, so I don’t think the rest matters.

                • Brian

                  Your version of good with baseball may differ with mine.

                  • DoubleDown

                    Yes. But I have seen many a posts by Kyle, and while I don’t always agree, he is very, very, knowledgeable(did I spellthat right?) when it comes to baseball.

            • Frank

              It was aimed at Crazyhorse. And Kyle–I’m sure you’ve heard a statement attributed to Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Ok–to the death is taking it a bit further than I’m willing to go for you.

  • http://www.hockeenight.com Slak

    I can’t imagine a better start to an offseason given where the Cubs sit. If they somehow end up getting Liriano, one of Marcum/McCarthy and Ryu you’ve got 5 starters that (if healthy) can get it done while the org. builds up the system even more.

    Potentially 4 of the 5 could be dealt for prospects if they perform well. I’m excluding Samardzija because it sounds like he’s going to be around for a while.

    Love what I’m hearing so far.

  • Jarrod Campbell

    Sounds to me like Theo & co. are building a team full of pieces that could potentially make 2013 a competitive year, but also pieces that we could deal at the deadline if we aren’t competitive. That’s the perfect way to go about this offseason in my opinion. I’d love to land McCarthy, too. Good clubhouse guy.

  • BD

    Out of all the “if he rebounds, that’s a great trading chip” pitchers that the Cubs could target, I think Liriano might have a lower price tag, while possessing the highest ceiling of potential. If he were to return to his 2010 form, that could net a haul at next year’s deadline.

  • Dustin

    I hope they sign him!! So when should we expect FA like Liriano,Marcum,McCarthy,etc to sign with a club(hopefully the cubbies)?

  • cubchymyst

    That walk rate is scary, in 3 of his 5 seasons he has averaged more than 4BB/9IP and only 1 season was lower than 3BB/9IP. If the Cubs get him hopefully Bosio can work the same magic he did on Marmol.

    • Mick

      Liriano’s walk issues are identical to Marmol’s in that he was relying WAY too much on his slider and when you can’t consistently throw your slider for strikes, batters can just wait until they see a fastball which results in a lot of BB’s and HR’s. If Liriano signs, the first thing Bosio should work with him on is his fastball followed by his changeup. Liriano has the potential to have one of the best changeups in the game. If Liriano can build up confidence in those first two pitches his slider will be soooo much more effective.

      BTW, I’d be pumped if we could get Liriano and I think Brett’s assessment that Liriano is a good flier for a #5 starter for a non-competitive team is a huge undersell.

      • CubFan Paul

        this is what i wanted. a real scouting report on this guy. Thanks, i hope we sign him to deal, maybe one that has 2 Club options, just in case Bosio fixes him

      • cubchymyst

        Hearing that makes me more optimistic about a possible Liriano signing. Thanks for the share.

  • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

    For those having issues with the Message Board not loading: can you please clear your cache, and then head back to the Message Board and let me know if there’s still an issue?

    • CubFan Paul

      i didnt work. i sent a pic. regular BN site is in the middle again but it’ll probably switch back after i submit this.

      • CubFan Paul

        im realigned to the left again. clearing the cache, reopening BN ‘fixed’ it but after posting or clicking on a link it goes back to the left

    • TWC

      The MB loads fine for me. (I do have Ad Blocker installed on this browser (Safari).)

      • Cubbie Blues

        MB loads fine for me as well with firefox, Chrome and Safari on Windows 7. (I have Ad Blocker turned off for BN.)

    • kgd

      On Google Chrome, my main browser, everything is working normal and good.
      On IE, which I only use when I’m forced to, the message board is all sorts of screwed up, even after clearing the cache. I noticed it’s also throwing a lot of “error on page” messages.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Thanks, kgd. When the Message Board is all screwed up, can you tell if it is related to the site trying to load an ad? Like, is it a “script” that fails to load/error on page? If that’s Greek to you, don’t worry about it. Thanks for the info.

        • jt

          When linking to another site from BN I get a pop up that asks if I really want to leave this page. Yesterday I clicked it. That is when the trouble started.
          I cleared the cookies, not the catch, and rebooted. That seemed to solve the problem. But I’ve gotten the same pop up twice since then. Both times I did a ctrl-alt-del and closed the “iexplorer” program.
          I believe clicking on the pop up box activates a script than is not pleasant. Seems like a kiddy thing, though, rather than a pro.

        • kgd

          Three “‘ipb’ is undefined errors” from http://bleachernation.com/forum/
          One “invalid character” from what appears to be an ad site. Probably a script error.
          One “Object doesn’t support this action” error from another ad link.

  • http://www.hockeenight.com Slak

    Talking about Liriano’s walk rate: didn’t Maholm struggle with walks in his down years as well? He’s not the same kind of pitcher as Liriano but Bosio seemed to help Maholm quite a bit.

    I’m optimistic.

    • cubchymyst

      I looked up Maholms stats he has consistently been below 3BB/9IP pitch for past 5 years. I wouldn’t say Maholm stuggled with walks the way Liriano does.

      • http://www.hockeenight.com Slak

        Thanks for checking – I guess that just leaves more room for improvement.

  • Peter O

    According the KLaw’s Top 50 Free Agents, its that Liriano has problems pitching out of the stretch. Apparently he’s just not he same guy with men on base.

    • CubFan Paul

      sounds like Chris Volstad’s issue(s) in 2012

      • Matt

        Volstad’s primary issues were with sucking as a MLB pitcher.

  • fortyonenorth

    …hopefully Bosio can work the same magic he did on Marmol

    If Don Cooper couldn’t work magic, I have my doubts. Overall, Liriano lacked consistency – one outing he’d shine and the next he literally could not find the strike zone. That said, the few times I watched him, he looked pretty good.

    There’s upside potential and, let’s face it, that’s what Theo’s looking for this year. We’re not going to net Anibel Sanchez.

  • Believe in 2015

    I like this move. Adding another lefty with good stuff who just needs to work on throwing more strikes.

  • Jeremy

    I won’t say that this offer doesn’t make sense because it does but I’m not a fan of Liriano at all. Hate his mechanics because it creates multiple release points on different pitches, tipping the hitter off, and his walk rates are scary. That being said, he is a bounce back type candidate.

    • kmr1453

      HEADLINES!!
      Comeback Player of the Year 2013: Francisco Liriano

  • Frank

    So long as we’re in the market for 2 starting pitchers, I’d be perfectly content with Liriano as the 2nd one. A Maholm like contract would be ideal, maybe with more built in incentives.

    We could do alot worse than Garza-???-Shark-Liriano-Wood. In fact we have.

  • CHITOWNGUIDO23

    Brett, Liriano actually had a 4.0 WAR not a 6.0

    http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/stats/_/id/6211/francisco-liriano

    • hansman1982

      It all depends in how the site that is publishing the WAR stat calculates it. Fangraphs and Baseball-Reference are the two leading WAR sites – fWAR = 6.0 – bWAR = 4.0.

      • CHITOWNGUIDO23

        yeah, I noticed fan graphs gave him a 6.0 and BR gave him a 4.0

  • Believe in 2015

    How do I fix the screen?

  • Zachary

    I like it. If he is pitching well good lefty starters can net a good return at the deadline.

  • Cub Fan Dan

    Liriano doesnt really appeal to me. That walk rate is just UGLY. Unless they see something that Boz can fix, but like another poster said, if Don Cooper couldnt do it…

    At 1 year under $5mm with maybe a team option for ’14 – tops – its worth a shot. As long as they couple this signing with a McCarthy/Marcum-type SP & another non-tender type SP (ie. Lannan).

    • Mick

      I’ve never heard of Don Cooper but I guess I better start paying attention because apparently he’s the best pitching coach in MLB. To Don’s credit, it probably takes more than a month of work and more like an entire offseason to fully assess and correct a pitcher’s approach. Liriano makes for a great reclamation project that if Bosio can get him back on track for half a season, team’s will be lining up for their post-season push. When Liriano is on, he’s proven to be a #1 SP.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      I think Coop is a great pitching coach. Same with Dave Duncan. But, just because a pitcher isn’t successful under one of these guys doesn’t mean they can’t be successful under someone else’s tutelage.

  • Crazyhorse

    What a shame ! Signing a player like Stewart and Liriano almost insures the Cubs to be losers.
    Liriano has had only one good year and it was the last time the Twins won the divison. If the Cubs want to sign this pitcher then hope for the best but expect the worse.

    To truly understand the Cubs Front office failures one has to actually stop kissing butt.

    • Adventurecizin’ Justin

      Root for someone else if it bothers you that much, bro. I love the Cubs, but it doesn’t affect my overall well-being if they aren’t winners. I’m happy to finally have management that takes the “ground-up” approach. I’m very excited about this offseason, the 2013 season, and the draft. I don’t care about the wins and losses in 2013…I just hope to see growth and see who might step it up

      I also like taking chances on players like Liriano and Stewart. What If & Why Not? Would you rather spend alot of money on Youkilis, who has certainly shown a sharp decline? Just wonderin’…take care.

    • hansman1982

      So if the Cubs are winners do Stewart and Liriano pay the Cubs for a top-10 draft pick, or….???

    • BT

      Yes, to truly understand the Cubs front office failures, one has to look at a free agent without any actual knowledge of whether a deal was offered, how many years were offered, and how much was offered, before any other deals have taken place in November with the entire off-season still ahead of us, and pass judgement. That’s how a REAL fan does it!

  • willis

    I’m ok with it because there is a lot of talent there. But he isn’t near the top of my hopeful gets for the rotation. But if they get him on the cheap why the hell not I suppose.

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    For me, Liriano is a NO BRAINER. A) He can’t command too much; B) While the walks have been high, his talent far exceeds the talents of Rusin, Raley, Struck, Germano, Berken, RoLo, etc.; C) Low Risk…High Reward potential; D) If he pitches well, he would be in demand at the deadline. In other words, I’m excited at the possibility! Peaceyo…Justin

  • Stevie B

    Circumspect…Brett, you are a true wordsmith.

  • daveyrosello

    Liriano is a good high-upside risk for this team on a short-term contract. For those that had a negative vibe on Liriano above, I can only say, really? You wouldn’t be happier seeing him out there next year than the Cubs trotting out flotsam like Coleman and Volstad on a regular basis?

    If Liriano is cheap, I do that signing, absolutely. <$4MM/year.

    • Kyle

      When you sign a guy like Liriano, you are making it a pretty good bet that you will see Coleman or Volstad at some point.

      He’s not very good and he’s not very durable. The fact that we could conceivably do worse doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

      • daveyrosello

        Agree with you. But the alternatives available, taking cost into account, do not have Liriano’s upside. IF he can improve his control, he could be an effective starter again. And a useful trade chip for the Cubs to boot.

        Cubs have plenty of $$, why not take the chance?

        • Kyle

          I’m not concerned about money. I’m concerned about rotation spots. Those have value. We have two of them available to be used to try to control assets for the future, either by flipping pitchers or filling them with long-term solutions.

          Liriano would not be my first choice for filling one of those two spots. He’s not been very good for two years now. I don’t know where everyone got this idea that you can just coach bad players into being good ones, but it’s not that easy.

          But he wouldn’t be a terrible choice, either. As others have noted, he’s a far bet better than a lot of the dreck we have now.

          • BT

            We have 2 spots available only if Garza isn’t traded.

            That being said, I am unenthusiastic about Liriano.

  • Melrosepad

    I’d still like to give someone like J.D. Martin a try. When you can have fewer walks than starts (17 walks to 21 starts) you know something is working. His H/9 spiked to 11.6 last year in AAA, but normally it has been in the 8.8 range. He should be able to be got for a minor league deal, and I think would be a good person to try out. I’d much rather have him for under 1 mil than Liriano with control issues at 5 mil.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    Beggers cannot be choosers…This would be a outstanding move – you need arms

    1. Is he under 30 – Yes
    2. Does he have an arm that has been sucessful in the past? Yes
    3. Does he have a power arm that misses bats and will be helped by a move to the NL? Yes

    Who cares about the money? He isn’t getting 5 for 120 so the money he makes over 2 or 3 years is not important – it’s about moving forward and the Next Move -

    • Kyle

      Was he good at baseball last year? No.
      Was he good at baseball the year before? No.

      • Mick

        Have you ever seen him pitch more than 2 innings? No.
        Are you qualified to determine whether or not he is good at baseball? No.

        • bbmoney

          I have. He wasn’t very good the last two years.

          Still like the attempted signing given the parameters Brett laid out. For that kind of commitment it’s pretty low to no risk for a guy who’s had a couple of pretty good years and has shown flashes of dominance (granted….the flashes have shown up years apart).

          Chances he has a really good year? Pretty low. What’s it cost the take a flier….next to nothing. It’s like the Maholm signing (be honest you weren’t excited about that when it happened either) with a higher potential return…and I’ll grant better chance to get you absolutely nothing.

        • Kyle

          Yes, yes.

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        So, who do you want then? I never see your choices…just your oppositions. (I’m not saying that you don’t offer your choices…I just haven’t seen ‘em!)

      • Adventurecizin’ Justin

        Was Jeff Samardzija a good starter the year before? No
        Was he a good starter really ever before ’12? No
        Liriano has been dominant before…so, is it possible that the dominance could come back since he is on the right side of 30?

        • Kyle

          It is absolutely possible.

          I’m not even that opposed to Liriano. I’m not enthused about him, but he’d be better than doing nothing.

          Many fans just love to quote the upside and ignore the downside. I’m happy to round out the view a little bit.

          • Adventurecizin’ Justin

            You’re absolutely right…there is downside. But, I really like the potential in these kinds of “buy-low” moves. At this point, I don’t think the Cubs need to be buying high on anyone…but should be searching for the diamonds in the rough, and Liriano could be that guy. Liriano certainly could be a bust…but he could also exceed what Paul Maholm gave us. No matter what, I don’t think he would be nearly as bad as several of the starters that took the hill in ’12!!

            • Kyle

              Honestly, if I could strike one phrase from the vocabulary of all baseball fans at this moment in time, it would be “buy low.”

              It’s a valid concept and it has it’s place. But it also seems to have a way of gripping the mind with such fascination that being bad at baseball perversely makes a player more attractive to pick it.

              It feeds into this idea that economic efficiency is all that matters, as if there aren’t other resources that are just as valuable as payroll if not moreso (time, roster spots, playing time, etc.).

              Agreed, though, that Liriano would be better than much of what we sent out last year. I’m not sure if he’d be better than any of our top 5 going into last season, though.

              • hansman1982

                I don’t think “buy low” should be stricken from the record but I do think it’s overused. Perhaps people should be re-educated.

                The concept of buy-low is that something is grossly under-valued, ergo, meaning that it once had higher value. To get it back to that previous value you “fix” what is wrong with that something.

                In this case, if Liriano’s problems are more pitch selection and mechanical issues, then Bosio can spend some time repairing Liriano so that we can get increased value out of another something.

                One more thing, Liriano is not bad at baseball. Casey Coleman is bad at baseball. Liriano did have a svelte 4.14 xFIP last year (Coleman’s was over 5).

                • Kyle

                  The league xFIP was 4.01, and I’m not sure xFIP does all that well when you get to the extreme guys who have very high BB and K totals.

                  • hansman1982

                    Svelte was a tad tongue in cheek. But I stand behind my point. Assuming xFIP- is basically ERA-, he was league average last year in that. SIERA has him closer to below average.

                    Basically what the advanced stats are telling us is that we are pursuing a guy who was (at best) average last year but was above average at a few points before that.

                    This kinda smells like Volstad 2.0. Hopefully it works this time.

                    • Kyle

                      It’s entirely possible that I’m underrating him, I’m just not convinced that you can project a 9 K/5 BB guy to the same as a 7 K/ 3 BB guy even if the xFIP formula spits out the same number.

                    • hansman1982

                      Which is partially why I included a look at Siera (which tells us that he is a worse pitcher than what xFIP is saying). According to FanGraphs, Siera is better designed to handle guys like Liriano.

                      To me it’s no different to pursue Liriano as it is to pursue Marcum, McCarthy, et al. They are all basically the same.

          • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

            What’s the downside with Liriano?
            He gets hurt and the Cubs get nothing out of him and only lose the $$ that they invested in him?

            There is the same downside with ALL the pitchers the Cubs will be looking at.

    • Crazyhorse

      Outstanding ? laughing at the outstanding move comment – its a move – its a gamble – money is not the issue. performance is the issue – Too many gambles at key positions will give the Cubs a 100 games loss season.

  • GoCubs

    On the one hand Liriano fits right into guys Theo and crew are looking for. Rebound guys with high upside. On the other hand I don’t see the fit. Theo and crew talk about creating a new culture throughout the organization that is the “Cubs Way”. A significant part of the Cubs Way is pitchers who don’t give up walks. Theo talked about how poor the Cubs were last year in this area. History shows that Liriano is a guy who is going to walk a lot of guys. I’d like to understand the fine line between getting potential bounce back talent and guys who will be an example of the Cubs Way.

  • http://www.sportsdanny.com Dan

    Lirano wasn’t good at baseball before? Really Kyle? He had a WHIP of 1.44 last season because he walks a ton of people but he averages for his career 9.1 Ks per 9 innings. Lirano’s problem is healthy and control – you harness the control and you gain what would be at least a #2 starter who misses bats often. I’m not sure why people dont’ realize that the Cubs need pitching -

    • Kyle

      So you are contradicting me saying he was bad the last two years by acknowledging that he was bad the last two years, but pointing to his career numbers? Odd strategy.

      • Mick

        Liriano had his ups and downs over the last 2 seasons. Last year he struck 15 in a game and followed it up by striking out 10. In 2011 he threw a no-hitter. To just make a blanket statements that Liriano was bad the last two years or he’s not good at baseball is asinine.

        • Kyle

          So your assertion is that to judge how good a player is at baseball, we should pick out his best games and see if they are any good?

          • Mick

            You said Liriano was bad at baseball for the last 2 years so I thought I’d pull out a few examples to demonstrate that not only was he not bad but he was at times great. Liriano had a better WAR than Jeremy Hellickson, James McDonald, Edinson Volquez, Jeremy Guthrie, etc. so does that mean they were bad at baseball too?

            • DoubleDown

              Again. you can take War stats and throw them out the window.

            • DoubleDown

              WAR isn’t perfect. But given the known limitations and the variations in how contextual situations impact final record, it does an awfully impressive job of projecting wins and losses.

              Is this really true? Come on now.

            • Kyle

              “You said Liriano was bad at baseball for the last 2 years ”

              No, I didn’t. I said he wasn’t good. That’s an important distinction.

              But anyway, Shawn Estes threw a complete-game shutout during a year in which he was the worst starting pitcher the NL had seen since WWII. Throwing out individual games is meaningless, and to borrow your word, asinine.

              Now, on your WAR argument, now you are at least trying to make a meaningful argument.

              Hellickson’s a tricky semantic case because you have to dig into predictive vs. descriptive. Hellickson, in the past two years, has pitched like a bad pitcher but his ERA has remained remarkably useful despite that. I would say that, yes, that makes him not a good pitcher, but I can see why others would disagree.

              I’d have no problem putting the other three in the “not good at baseball” category for last season.

              • Mick

                According to Derek Johnson (new Cubs Minor League Pitching Coordinator), “I think the true measuring stick is batting average against and well-hit average against. If a pitcher has a high ERA but low well hit average against, then he is doing his job but the ball is not rolling his way. On the other hand, a pitcher may have a low ERA but high batting average against, which means his defense is probably saving him. You and I will welcome the defense saving him, but the big picture is the kid is not missing bats/forcing weak contact and that will not win games in the long run.”

                So, if we take Liriano’s .293 BABIP in 2012, he still ranks ahead of Greinke, Sanchez, Kuroda, and McCarthy. Is that still considered a bad baseball player?

                • Kyle

                  You are ignoring walks. I assume Johnson is not, so I’ll chalk that up to you misunderstanding him rather than him being wrong.

                  • Mick

                    I may be ignoring walks but you making the blanket statement, “Was he good at baseball last year? No.” is ignoring every statistic.

                    Just apologize to Frankie and we’ll call it good. :)

                    • Kyle

                      He walked 87 batters in 156.2 innings, which directly led to him giving up 97 runs in those innings.

                      If you want to complain, pull quotes out of context and throw out individual games, feel free, but there’s no way you can twist that into him being good at baseball last year.

                    • Mick

                      So now you’re ONLY considering walks as to whether or not a player is good at baseball???

                    • Mick

                      BOX

          • DarthHater

            Sure. One great game was the basis of Kerry Wood’s career, wasn’t it? [quickly runs for cover...] ;-)

  • http://www.cubsstats.com BWoodrum

    I’m all for Liriano cheap. I thought he was a prudent acquisition for the White Sox last year, given their offensive talent and pitching depth problems. The Cubs still have a need for legit starting pitching, so Liriano deserves a few contract feelers. Obviously, I would prefer a minor league deal or a split contract, but something cheap with some team options would be good too.

    On a side note, I want to caution against using ERA+. I think it’s a few steps inferior to ERA-:

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2012/9/14/3332194/era-plus-vs-era-minus

    • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

      Would we be better off with FIP- or xFIP-?
      -
      Lirano, Marcum, McCarthy, Villanueva, Blanton, Feldman, Baker….all the same to me. Take whoever comes at most team friendly deal.

      • Kyle

        In practice, xFIP has been slightly more predictive of future results than FIP. I keep hoping that’s a statistical blip because the way xFIP is calculated makes me deeply uncomfortable.

        • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

          I only use xFIP on very small samples because of the HR adjustment.

          • hansman1982

            I think that is where the reason for the “predictivity” plays in. xFIP was created to remove some of the random variation in pitchers HR rates. Therefore it should tend to skew closer to their average production level?

            • http://www.viewfromthebleachers.com Norm

              Yeah, but I believe xFIP adjusts to league average home run rate, vs. the career average of the pitcher.
              That’s why, for small samples, I’ll use xFIP, but once a pitcher has a few hundred innings under his belt, FIP works for me.

              • hansman1982

                that is one thing I never understood about xFIP – the league avg HR. You think it would be best to use a weighted 3-year MA for that.

                As usual, though, whenever I have 2+ stats that tell me, essentially, the same thing, I look somewhere in the middle.

              • DocPeterWimsey

                I think that the issue is that there is little evidence that pitchers have different HR:FB ratios once you standardize for ballparks. There certainly is little predictive power to HR:FB ratios for pitchers: it can yo-yo fairly dramatically (although rarely significantly) from one season to the next. Of course, you are dealing with only a couple of hundred flyballs: so every 2 HR is another percentage point.

  • jesus zuniga

    Doest matter that much of money or years..where gonna flip him anyway.just dont give any bs trade rights

  • Adventurecizin’ Justin

    WAY OFF TOPIC…with J.Upton and T.Bauer supposedly on the block, could you see the Rangers sending Andrus and Olt for those two? I’ve read that Andrus might be available with Profar being close to ready…and Upton could be Hamilton’s replacement per se. Would that be an even trade?

  • JR

    Liriano is obviously not perfect. But I like that dude a hell of a lot more than a guy like John Lannan. A hell of a lot more.

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