Pirates close to signing Liriano to two-year deal
By Rob Biertempfel
Published: Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, 3:00 p.m.
The Pirates agreed to a two-year, $14 million deal with free-agent, left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano.
General manager Neal Huntington would not confirm the deal, which is pending a physical that may not be completed until after Christmas.
Liriano was 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA and 1.468 WHIP in 34 games (28 starts) last season with the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox.
In 2011, he pitched a no-hitter but was 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA. He earned the most wins of his career in 2010, when he went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA with the Twins. He is 53-54 with a 4.40 ERA over six full seasons, plus six appearances (four starts) in 2005.
The 29-year-old native of the Dominican Republic would join a Pirates rotation that includes A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald. It seems likely that Kyle McPherson or Jeff Locke will hold down the No. 5 spot until 2011 overall No. 1 pick Gerrit Cole is ready.
Liriano, initially signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent in 2000, enjoyed his best season in 2006 when he went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and was named to the All-Star Game. However, he tore an elbow ligament that season, which forced him to miss all of 2007.
He was named 2010 AL Comeback player of the Year.
The Twins moved Liriano to the bullpen in May after he started 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA. In July 28, the Twins traded him to the White Sox for two minor leaguers.
Liriano's 87 walks ranked sixth most in the AL last season, when he made $5.5 million.
With the addition of Liriano, the Pirates will allocate about $26.5 million of their projected $70 million 40-man payroll to the starting rotation.
Burnett will make $16.5 million (the Pirates will pay $8 million), Rodriguez will get $13 million (the Pirates will pay $8 million) and McDonald (arbitration eligible) likely will get about $3 million. Locke and McPherson will make the $500,000 major-league minimum.
Liriano provides a safety net in case Charlie Morton, who probably won't be back until July if all goes well, has an unexpected setback during his rehab from elbow surgery. His addition also would strengthen the case, at least from a financial standpoint, to trade closer Joel Hanrahan, who is expected to get about $7 million if he goes through arbitration.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-320-7811.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates not yet talking extensions with Alvarez, Walker
- Pirates sign free agent pitcher Volquez
- Pirates sign Morton to 3-year extension
- First base options thinning as winter meetings go on
- Breaking down the Pirates’ needs entering winter meetings
- Pirates notebook: Polanco ruled out as Opening Day option
- Ex-Pirate Jones close to signing with Marlins
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets