Fransisco Liriano has been placed to the 15-day DL after his latest short ineffective outing (last night at Texas, at 96 degree weather.) This outing was particularly disappointing since it came just after a brilliant 7 inning (3 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K; game score 74) performance (his best this season) against the Royals in the Metrodome. There is no official diagnosis about what is physically wrong with Fransisco. Ron Gardenhire is quoted to say "he had nothing left in the tank". A medical reason might be given soon. Not to forget that Justin Morneau was taken out early in the game with "dizziness". High heat and humidity would do that. Let's hope that there is nothing too alarming, especially dealing with his surgically reconstructed elbow. Liriano is the third pitcher in the Twins rotation (Slowey 60-day, Perkins 15-day) currently in the DL.
The best news for the Twins last night was that the team work around a potential impasse, to sign their 2009 first round pick, Kyle Gibson, for $1.85 million signing bonus, an amount in the middle of the 22 spot recommendation and the $2.5 million he and his adviser (amateurs do not have agents, but are allowed to have agents as negotiating advisers before they sign a contract) reportedly wanted. The negotiations went well close to the midnight ET deadline. About an hour and forty five minuted before that deadline, Kyle appeared live on Seth Stohs' weekly podcast. A definite must listen for a Twins' fans. Do not miss it. Kyle sounds like a great guy who likes to interact with fans. This is the third time he appeared in Seth's podcast and to do this while the negotiations were heating up, says a lot about him. Welcome to the Twins' family Kyle.
Kyle, a projected top 10 pick, fell down to number 22 because of a stress fracture on his forearm, which has completely healed. I provided links to scouting reports and videos of Kyle during my live draft blogging coverage of the first day of the draft. Kyle will probably go to the Twins' training complex in Ft. Myers for instructionals, but I will not be surprised if he joins the Miracle in the FSL playoffs if they need an additional arm and he is in game ready shape.
To replace Fransisco Liriano in the Twins' pitching staff, the Twins purchased the contract of Philip Humber (109 IP, 5.28 ERA, 1.477 WHIP, 6.4 K/9, 2.0 K/BB with the Red Wings) from the Rochester Red Wings. There is an additional move to be made to open a spot on the 40-man roster, and I suspect that either R.A. Dickey or Matt Macri will be removed from that roster. This is a very surprising move, because it bypassed 2 Red Wings' starting pitchers, Armando Gabino (83 IP, 2.93 ERA, 1.012 WHIP, 5.7 K/9, 2.7 K/BB with the Red Wings) and Yohan Pino (35 IP, 3.86 ERA, 1.114 WHIP, 8 K/9, 3.44 K/BB with the Red Wings and 62 IP, 3.19 ERA, 1.242 WHIP, 9.3 K/9, 4 K/BB with the Rock Cats) who outpitched him this season and could potentially help more the Twins. Rob Delaney and Anthony Slama, other potential candidates, are relievers and allows 11 ERs in 1.1 IP between the 2 of the last night for Rochester, which makes them slightly less desirable in the bigs, esp. with the state of the Twins' starting pitching in a flux.
On the heels of a disappointing season that proved what was thought as the strength of the team last spring, the starting rotation, a mirage, and just before the move to a brand new park, I believe that a pitching move by the front office to energize the fan base, the players and the staff is necessary. And what would be better than acquiring Cuban 21 year old phenom free agent Aroldis Chapman. If you are not familiar with Champan, he is a starter lefty with a fastball that touches the low 100s and sits comfortably in the mid to high 90s. here is a brief scouting report from his recent WBC appearance. Chapman is currently probably at the AAA level, because of his command and quality of the secondary pitches, but at this point, he would have been the third best starter for the Twins behind Scott Baker and Carl Pavano. His price tag is speculated to larger than the $30 million contract Jose Contreras signed in 2003; but with the state of the economy, this might be a fairly high estimate. I suspect that it will be closer to the $16 million neighborhood (Steven Strasburg's singing bonus by the Nationals). Bringing Aroldis Chapman north would not only be a tremendous energizing move for the Twins' fan base, but a move that would help their rotation for years to come.