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He's no Greinke, but Liriano could be just what the White Sox need

By Danny Knobler | Baseball Insider
After failing to acquire Zack Greinke, the White Sox execute a trade to get Francisco Liriano. (US Presswire)

If the White Sox were sure that Chris Sale could hold up and Jake Peavy could stay healthy, if they were sure that John Danks could come back strong, if they were sure that Philip Humber could pitch the way he did Saturday night in Texas rather than the way he has pitched for the last three months . . .

Then they wouldn't need to trade for another pitcher.

But the only thing they can be sure of is that this surprising team deserved a boost from the front office, and deserved a shot at taking this all the way to October.

Thus, Francisco Liriano.

Liriano, who the White Sox acquired in a Saturday night trade with the Twins, obviously isn't Zack Greinke, who the White Sox spent Friday trying hard to trade for. But they couldn't get Zack Greinke.

They could get Francisco Liriano, and he could help.

Look, the White Sox are well aware of how up and down Liriano could be. They scored seven runs off him and knocked him out in the third inning the last time they faced him.

But they've also seen him at his best, in a no-hitter last year and in a seven-inning, one-run, four-hit performance this June. Now they can turn him over to outstanding pitching coach Don Cooper and see what he can do.

Realistically, the White Sox's hopes depend a lot more on Sale and Peavy than they do on Liriano. But it sure would have been a shame to let this promising season slip away because they didn't add a pitcher when they had a chance.

"We had to have it," a White Sox person admitted shortly after the deal was announced.

Remember, as outstanding as Sale has been, he's already pitched 53 more innings than he did all of last year, with two months still to go in the season.

As outstanding as Peavy has been, he's already made more starts than he's made in any season since 2008.

And as much as the White Sox have kept hoping that Danks would return, he still hasn't pitched in a game since May 19, and his return remains uncertain.

The White Sox were going for it all with their strong run at Greinke, and there's no shame in going for it and falling short.

What would have been a shame would have been to let Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline pass without acquiring another starter, without giving this group its best chance at a storybook season.

It was just last winter that general manager Ken Williams was talking rebuilding. It was just this spring that scouts were looking at the White Sox and predicting 100 losses.

They're better than that, obviously. They're good enough to deserve the front office's best effort, too.

They're getting that effort. The White Sox desperately needed a third baseman, and Williams came up with Kevin Youkilis. The bullpen was full of kids, so he went and got Brett Myers.

And now Liriano.

Greinke would have been a dream addition. They tried.

Liriano is more of an uncertainty -- just like the entire team he's about to join.

There's no guarantee he'll do well. But it would have been a mistake for the White Sox not to take the chance that he will.

 
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