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Are The Minnesota Twins Looking To Trade Francisco Liriano?

That's the rumbling coming out of Minneapolis, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

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Christensen is saying that the Twins apparently have no inclination to sign Liriano to a long-term deal, and that his agent was asking for a three-year deal worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $39 million. The Twins and Liriano eventually worked out a one-year, $4.3 million deal in order to avoid salary arbitration prior to Spring Training.

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Joe C. doesn't seem to think that this is such a crazy idea.

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For one thing, Liriano is still an injury risk. He had arm injuries coming through the minors, he had Tommy John elbow surgery in 2006 and he still has a violent delivery.

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For all the talk about how Liriano is learning to trust his fastball and changeup, the lefthander relied heavily on his slider again last season. According to FanGraphs.com, 38 percent of the pitches he threw as a rookie in 2006 were sliders. That number dipped to 27 percent during his abysmal 2009 season and returned to 34 percent last year.

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Liriano might look like a blue-chip stock again, but rather than investing big, the Twins seem content to maximize his current value. They can tap him for about 65 starts over the next two seasons and collect two draft picks if he leaves as a free agent. Or they can trade him.

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He may be right. . .if Liriano has another great year, then the Twins can revisit signing him long-term or deal him somewhere. If he drops off, then the Twins would be in a position to let him go.

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Pitchers and catchers report Monday, ladies and gentlemen. . .that's the first sure-fire sign of spring, and you'll be getting all the angles covered here at SB Nation Minnesota!

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.