First it was Kevin Youkilis. Then Brett Myers. Now Francisco Liriano is coming to the White Sox. If Kenny Williams' cell phone could talk, it would probably say, Stop. Leave me alone. I quit.
But it cant. Neither can Williams. The White Sox have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball with a 2 12 game lead in the AL Central, and this deal could best be described as a shocker. The main reason? The White Sox and Twins, longtime division rivals, actually made a trade with each other.
The last time it happened was 26 years ago.
It wasnt that memorable either. On Sept. 3, 1986, the White Sox sent Kurt Walker to Minnesota for Pete Filson. Walker never played in the majors. Filson pitched in three games for the White Sox. Liriano was three years old, living in the Dominican Republic.
But now, hes coming to the White Sox.
When I spoke with Williams earlier this week about possible trade targets, he hinted that not only was a trade possibly coming, but it might be something unexpected.
Youd be surprised at some of the phone calls weve made, Williams said.
Zack Greinke was his first choice. Williams apparently hounded Brewers GM Doug Melvin, trying to pry the pitcher away, but the two sides couldnt come up with a match. Greinke ended up going to the Angels. Williams changed courses and landed Liriano.
We learned about the trade while on the air during White Sox Postgame Live. When I shared the news with Frank Thomas, his mouth nearly dropped to the floor. It was completely unexpected, just like the twists and turns of Lirianos career.
As a rookie in 2006, he went 12-3, was named to the All-Star team, and looked like the next Johan Santana. Later that season he underwent Tommy John surgery. Some thought his career might be over. He mainly pitched in the minor leagues in 2008. He went 5-13 in the majors in 2009. He threw a no-hitter in 2011 (against the White Sox). This season hes 3-10 and lost his last start to the White Sox giving up seven runs in 2 23 innings on Monday night.
So what can we expect of him? Nobody knows.
But we do know this, the White Sox now have a surplus of starting pitchers. Very few teams can say that. They have six healthy starters. If John Danks can come back (which is starting to seem unlikely), he would be No. 7. With Liriano, it allows Chris Sale and Jake Peavy to get extra rest between starts. Plus, if Mr. Fix It (pitching coach Don Cooper) can get Liriano back to his old form, or something close to it, the White Sox could have a steal on their hands.