According to Bob Nightingdale of USA Today, the Houston Astros are one step away from adding Francisco Liriano to the team. According to Bob Pending a physical, Nori Aoki would be the major piece involved. He would be heading to Toronto accompanied by a prospect outfielder.
Heading into this afternoon, the Astros had major links to Liriano, along with the Twins, Dodgers, Cubs, and Royals, all of which are in the playoff fold. The deal has been brewing for some time now, and the Astros’ plethora of outfielders made it an easy decision.
Francisco Liriano was acquired in similar fashion at last years’ trade deadline. In over 113 innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Liriano amassed a 5.46 ERA, but managed a 2.92 ERA after joining the Blue Jays for the last two months of 2016. Similarly to last year, Liriano is piecing together an even more unfavorable 5.88 ERA heading to Houston.
Should Houston decide to use Liriano out of the bullpen, he would likely assume a role as a lefty specialist, as left-handed batters are hitting a rather low .230 against him this season.
36-year-old outfielder Nori Aoki would be a strong return for the veteran pitcher Francisco Liriano, but the move had to be made in order for Houston to open up an outfield spot for Derek Fisher. Unlike many of the Jays’ hitters, Aoki is enjoying an above average season at the plate, hitting his way to a .272 clip in 71 games. Fellow outfielder Teoscar Hernandez will be sent to Toronto as well, who has had a mediocre season spent mostly in Triple-A.
Seeing as Francisco Liriano is a pending free agent with an inflated ERA, getting anything back is beneficial for the Blue Jays.