A little over a week ago I wrote that I was confident the Twins were working on an extension for team ace Francisco Liriano. Then a couple days ago we learned via Seth Stohs, that the Twins had decided to go year-to-year with Liriano. Today, it's official - the team and it's ace have come to an agreement on a one year, 4.3m contract, 200k less than my 4.5m estimate. It's the second arbitration contract where the team and player have met in the exact middle of their two proposals.
In signing Liriano to a one year deal instead of trying to extend their ace, the Twins are protecting themselves from the risk associated with a long-term deal for a pitcher with one of baseball's more violent deliveries. They're also subjecting themselves to a fairly substantial risk of having to pay more for an extension should Liriano remain healthy and equally or even more effective which his peripherals suggest is a strong possibility. There's also a chance that Liriano, knowing he's just one year from a possible massive free agent payout could opt to eschew negotiations until after the 2012 season and instead test free agency.
The signing leaves Delmon Young as the last remaining arbitration candidate for the Twins or any other AL Central team. I'll have updated payroll information for all five teams once that signing is complete.
Corey Ettinger is a proud contributor to both 612Sports.net and 312Sports.com. He also provides extensive analysis of the American League Central Division at his own blog, AL Central In Focus.