First off I want to get something off my chest about the Twins media reporting. I want to give a disclaimer about this though. Lavelle E. Neal III is a good beat reporter for the Twins and I enjoy reading his column everyday to find out Twins information and lineups. However, after reading his column this morning I am a little disappointed in him. In a regular article in the Star Tribune website today Lavelle promotes the Twins using Francisco Liriano as the closer for the Twins. That is after Ron Gardenhire explicitely said that Liriano is a starter and that they will run the closer role by committee. That is pretty clear that Liriano is not going to be a closer so that is what caught me off guard about the piece. Seems to me the only person still toughting Liriano as a closer is Lavelle. Honestly, that is not the job of a beat reporter as his job is to report the news that happens. If this had been in his blog I would have less of a problem with it because people want to hear his opinion in there, but not in a regular article. In a regular article I don't want to see the word I in any article not written by guys like Patrick Reusse or Jim Souhan who are paid to give their opinions. If he wants to give his opinions on this Lavelle should of done it in his blog and not in a regular article that is all I am saying. Now that I am off my soapbox the question begins should Liriano be a closer or starter.
There is no doubt in my mind that Francisco Liriano has the stuff to be an effective closer for the Twins. However, I think it would be a waste of talent as Liriano has the ability to be an ace of the staff as a starter. I think the Twins would rather have someone pitch 180-200 good innings than have a guy pitch 60-70. I really think with his line of 2 walks and 26 strikeouts this spring that his control is back along with his wicked slider. What the Twins need just as bad as a closer is an ace that you can hand the ball to who will dominate. The Twins havea bunch of number 2's and 3's in their rotation, but what they are lacking is a dominate ace that the Twins' competitors like Justin Verlander and Jake Peavy have. I think guys like Matt Guerrier and Jon Rauch can do the job until Pat Neshek is ready to take the job and run with it midseason so I think it would be a huge mistake for the Twins to force Liriano into the closers role as he obviously would rather start. Here is hoping that the Twins do the right thing with a guy that could be the ace in the hole for the Twins division winning formula.