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Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Trade Watch 2011: Nova & Pena for Liriano?

By Andrew Marchand

With it probably a question of when instead of if the Yankees are going to make a deal for a starting pitcher, we are going to try to keep a close eye on all possibilities until they make a big deal. So, with the Weather Channel fresh in our head, let's continue Trade Watch 2011.

The Potential Deal: The talks that we wrote about on Tuesday involved Francisco Liriano for Ivan Nova and Ramiro Pena, according to Fox Sports.  That is who Brian Cashman dangled in front of the Twins this offseason. It seems like a pretty underwhelming package, but if you go a little deeper it may not be as far from a deal than one may initially think. That said, the Yankees are definitely going to have to add a sweetener.

What You Need To Know: The Twins actually like Nova and Pena. They like Nova's potential even though they don't know yet if he is a guy who can work late into games. They like Pena, whom they think maybe can be more than a backup utility guy. They think defensively he can be very strong at short.

The Twins seem willing to give up Liriano for the right package. Is Nova and Pena the right deal? No way, but if you put Joba Chamberlain in that trade, would they do it? From their perspective, they may look at it as getting a starter who is ready to pitch at the major-league level, an infielder they think could be a potential every day player and a potential 25-year-old closer.

Despite the fact that Liriano is their ace, they may be concerned about his injury risk, possible work ethic questions and the fact he hasn't put together back-to-back good seasons.

What likely won't happen: The Yankees likely won't put in Manny Banuelos or Dellin Betancesin any deal. There is a part of me that thinks Cashman would want to hold them out of almost all deals with the possible exception of King Felix. Even in a trade for Felix Hernandez, we don't know if Cashman would ever put them both in.

For Liriano, we can't imagine Banuelos or Betances going to Minnesota.

What could happen: By the end of the spring or by July, Liriano could be a Yankee. Ultimately, Cashman may favor waiting to see how his team fares and what other options present themselves before striking. But Liriano is on the radar and there are seeds for a deal.