Photo Credit: © John E. Sokolowski

Nightengale: Royals and Jays Talking Liriano

We’re getting right down to it now, aren’t we?

The Jays postured about contending in 2017 all the way through an ugly June and somehow even uglier July, but the writing now seems to be on the wall that, if they’re not trading players with control beyond this season, they’re at least going to try to move the ones that will be free agents at the end of the season.


“A month ago, we were talking about the need for our team to play well and get hot,” he said Monday while sitting in the Blue Jays dugout prior to the series opener against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre. “We didn’t have to absolutely catch fire but we haven’t done that. We haven’t gotten hot. We haven’t got on a streak.

“Now we’re in a position where it’s a lot more difficult to add to a team like this objectively as you look at it. The scale of deciding whether we add or subtract [at the trade deadline] has definitely changed.”

And so we have the Royals. “Winners” of the 2015 World Series (since abdicated, as per the last few episodes of Birds All Day), and collectors of all the trash pitching! Including, potentially, Francisco Liriano. Apparently. At least according to Bob Nightengale, which quite possibly means there’s nothing apparent about it at all…

The piece he links to here has nary a mention of Liriano or the Jays, which is cute. But maybe not completely atypical. Nightengale tends to be a little flighty sometimes, perhaps…

Which is to say: take all this for however little it’s worth — which is hardly a Because It’s Bob Nightengale thing; it’s a Because It’s July 26th thing.

And the Royals, despite picking up three pitchers from the Padres last week, still have Jason Hammel and Ian Kennedy in their rotation. Two guys who have better numbers than Liriano on the season, but who don’t have the same upside as the Jays’ enigmatic starter does when he’s going right.

Could the Royals seriously not do any better? That the Jays would be willing to pay the freight to at least get something back in the deal maybe makes the idea more plausible than we’d think it is on the surface — the Royals, if you can believe it, are running a $143 million payroll right now (per Cot’s), and I don’t expect that they’re going to push that a whole lot higher — and that Liriano could, at the very least, be a useful bullpen piece for them down the stretch (provided they’re OK with the notion of handing the ball in a tight situation to someone who may go out and walk five guys before you even realize what’s happening). But… ennnhhhh… I don’t know.

Still, if they want him, be my goddamned guest. I had some hopes for Liriano this season, and he was effing brilliant for the Jays last year (not to mention this spring!), but even a little something for him is better than nothing. Strap yourselves in for more César Valdezes! Which, actually, after his great performance last night, I suppose you could do worse (though… let’s maybe see what we think of that in two months, eh?).

Oh, and for what it’s worth, MLBTR relays this:

MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan hears (Twitter link) that Kansas City has watched his last two outings. But the southpaw’s “inconsistency has been concerning” to the Royals’ talent evaluators.

Ya think?????


Gideon from over at BP Toronto has pointed me to a piece he wrote last week about the Royals potentially looking at Marco Estrada. In it, his front office source mentioned the names of the types of players the Jays would be interested in — names one assumes would be relevant to any Liriano discussions as well.

Additionally, the source pointed out that if the Blue Jays were to trade with the Royals, some players they could be interested in are OF Donnie Dewees, 1B Samir Duenez, RHP Glenn Sparkman (yes, him), or RHP Andres Machado. Dewees, Duenez, and Sparkman are all currently with the AA Northwest Arkansas Naturals, while Machado is with the Wilmington Blue Rocks in Advanced-A. Dewees was ranked Kansas City’s 11th top prospect according to MLB Pipeline, while Duenez came in at 17th on their list.

Keep watching Gideon’s stuff as the deadline approaches. He’s more plugged in than I think people give him credit for sometimes…

  • AD

    The jays best chance to get a good prospect for estrada or liriano is to package them with joe smith. If you trade liriano or estrada by themselves, jays wont get much at all due to their shitty performance

    • The Humungus

      The Jays can get a good prospect without packaging Smith if they eat the contract. Given that they general consensus among “The Insiders ™” is that the Jays need to keep payroll to make sure they have the same or more next year, then this could be an advantage when trading with cash-strapped “contenders”.

      • AD

        Liriano and estrada are free agents this winter. Other teams wouldnt care to pick up the tab for the remainder of this year. If you mean the jays absorbing a shitty contract on another teams roster, thats a different story but not very likely. Like they did with liriano last year.

        • The Humungus

          A team like the Royals would care. Estrada has just under $5M left on his deal this year, Liriano has about $4.5M left. That’s not a small amount of money for a Royals team that’s extended themselves beyond their means to take one last shot before Hosmer-Cain-Moustakas go FA at the end of the season. I’m not saying they can get an A prospect by holding the money while trading the player, but a B level isn’t out of the question for them.

          • AD

            In that case i would much rather package estrada or liriano with smith and try and get an A level prospect from a contender( while eating the money of course) i think you can get an A level prospect in that sort of deal.

          • The Humungus

            I think it’s still a stretch to get an A for Smith and a starter. I think we’re talking B for a starter, A- at best for Smith and a starter. How much more would a team pay for the 40ish innings of Joe Smith then they’d pay for the potential of a starter with at least some track record?

  • MikeB

    “And so we have the Royals. “Winners” of the 2015 World Series (since abdicated, as per the last few episodes of Birds All Day)”

    Haha, nice! But I will always maintain that the 2013 Red Sox win was a more horseshit one.

    • The Humungus

      If we’re talking horseshit World Series wins, can we talk about the 2002 Angels, who somehow got nearly 10 WAR out of the keystone combo of David Eckstein (5.2) and Adam Kennedy (4.7), and who’s best starting pitcher was Jarrod Washburn?

      I mean, shit. Sciocsia’s been dining out on that one for 15 fuckin’ years now.

  • vic

    I don’t see why the Jays wouldn’t eat up all of the salary remaining on Estrada and Liriano in a trade. The team is doing well in attendance and I’m sure has no real issues with payroll this season. If paying all of the remaining salary on those two nets them a more intriguing lottery ticket or two from another team, then do it. Giving up a “free” starter might make those two more appealing given how bad they have been lately.