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Is Twins' Francisco Liriano Heading To Yankees?

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This is a delicious rumor!

Bob Nightengale of USA Today just told us that he thinks its possible that Liriano is traded to the Yanks in nxt 2 weeks for Nova or Joba +

That was Jim Bowden tweeting, yesterday. And I'm not sure it actually qualifies as a rumor, since Nightengale might have just been spitballing.

I'm glad he threw that + in there, because otherwise this would just be silly. It might be anyway, for one simple reason ...

The Twins sort of need Francisco Liriano, don't they?

Management might think they've got some wiggle room, but PECOTA disagrees; according to Baseball Prospectus's Playoff Odds Report, the Twins and the Tigers and the White Sox are bunched as tightly as three teams can be. Just in case this isn't obvious, Liriano is easily the Twins' best starting pitcher. He'll never again be the pitcher he was in 2006, but he's plenty good enough and there's simply no way for the Twins to replace him, no matter who they might get from the Yankees.

Does that mean you can't trade him? In a world without passions, no. Considering that the Twins are not significantly better than the White Sox or Tigers, maybe this is the season to trade the veterans for younger players and focus on winning 90 games in 2012 and beyond.

Not in this world. In this world, can't trade him unless you're getting, right now, at least much as you're giving up. In this world, the Twins are expected to contend for another division title, and to not make moves that leave them obviously less likely to contend. And as desperate as the Yankees might be for a high-quality starting pitcher, I'm having trouble imagining a package they could put together for Liriano.

It's fun to think about, though.