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Updated: July 28th, 2012 11:12pm
GM Ryan on Liriano trade: 'We didn't want to be left with nothing'

GM Ryan on Liriano trade: 'We didn't want to be left with nothing'

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Over the past few weeks, as Francisco Liriano continued to mow down opposing hitters in his post-bullpen resurgence, it appeared as if the Minnesota Twins were faced with a two-pronged decision:

Should they trade Liriano -- who is free to test the open market this offseason -- for whatever the highest bidder will offer?

Or should they keep him in their future plans?

As it turned out, neither Liriano and his agent nor the pitching-starved Twins even so much as pursued a contract extension at any point this season.

"You're talking about dollars, you're talking about years, you're talking about a lot of things there," said general manager Terry Ryan. "So, I don't want to pretend like we pursued an extension and I don't want to pretend like they did."

Ryan added, "I'll tell you this -- he expressed interest in staying, and I appreciated that very much."

The Twins also could have waited until the offseason to make a decision on Liriano, but that would have been extremely risky, because, as Ryan pointed out, "You don't know that he was going to take (the extension). We didn't want to be left with nothing."

And if the Twins wanted to collect draft-pick compensation in the event Liriano would have signed with another team this offseason, they would have been forced to offer him a one-year, $12.4 million contract, per Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement.

Ryan didn't say it directly, but the Twins did not view Liriano -- as good as he can be over certain stretches -- as a player trustworthy enough to pump multiple years and large sums of money into.

"That was a rollercoaster season so far," Ryan said. "It was a struggle, then he was great. He's capable, as we all know. He's capable of being quite good when he pitches ahead, throws the ball over the plate. It's as simple as that."

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd
In this story: Francisco Liriano