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Friday, August 1, 2008

Twins Complete Huge Late Deadline Deal

Well.... kinda, but the point is the Twins roster move today is the equivalent to a big deadline deal.

Yes of course there was no trade involving a Manny or a Junior, but the Twins FINALLY called up the "Franchise" Francisco Liriano today and released both pitcher Livan Hernandez and Craig Monroe.

Liriano and his 10-2 record with a 3.28 ERA in AAA Rochester will join the rotation Sunday against Cleveland. Along with the move, AAA first baseman Randy Ruiz will join the big league club taking Monroe's role on the bench. Ruiz was batting .320 with 17 homeruns and 68 RBIs through 111 games in Rochester.

This move is a huge boost to the Twins. Not very often can a playoff contending club get rid of veterans in favor of a youth movement and still improve their team. Just like the past two years the Twins signed Hernandez and Monroe for a combined $8.5 million thinking they would be bargain veterans that provide leadership and experience. I'm sure these two players added their experience to the Twins clubhouse, but for Liriano and Ruiz the time is now.

I truly think Liriano could be the difference maker in determining the AL Central race. The White Sox may have made their move for Ken Griffey Jr. and I believe Griffey will be rejuvenated by playing for a playoff contending club and be a bigger addition then people believe, but Liriano can make a huge impact for the Twins. If Liriano continues to pitch like he has at AAA, he'll get to pitch the months of August and September that we never saw in amazing rookie year of 2006. The difference in 2008, Liriano is not the rookie phenomenon, but a potential staff ace returning from Tommy John surgery.

Reporters have criticized and will continue to ask why Liriano wasn't called up earlier; however, despite the poor performance of Hernandez the past two months, the decision to call up Liriano could not be rushed. Francisco now clearly has his confidence, his velocity, his command, and his motivation of being the difference maker in a tight playoff race.

The most exciting thing to me in this entire situation, not only do we have Liriano ready to dominate down the stretch but the Twins current 2008 rotation looks like the following: Scott Baker, Kevin Slowey, Glen Perkins, Nick Blackburn, and Francisco Liriano.... all legitimate young pitchers under the age of 26. The future is bright for the Minnesota Twins!

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