Liriano Out, Blackburn In -- For Now
First, I thought that the Twins would take Liriano north, and have been saying so all year. Still, I can't disagree with the decision to give him a couple of minor league starts (it sounds like one in Ft. Myers and one in Rochester). This is also great news for Nick Blackburn, who will get at least a couple of chances to prove his value to the team.
What's interesting about this move is that the Twins made the decision to option Liriano rather than placing him on the DL. However, on further review this isn't particularly strange. First, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, an option is officially used on a player only if that player is on optional assignment for more than 20 days in a season. For Liriano, that means that if he is recalled by the Twins before the 16th of April, and doesn't get optioned again this season, he won't have used up an option year. Even if he does, however, who really cares? This would be Liriano's second option year. That would leave him with another year in which he could be optioned. Is there really any doubt, however, that once healthy Liriano is going to remain a big league player? The Twins don't need to be careful with his option years, because almost certainly he isn't going to use them.
So, the last piece of the roster puzzle seems to have fallen into place. Now, we can look forward to tomorrow's spring finale against the Pirates, and Monday night's season opener against the Angels. I can't wait!