Francisco Liriano, Pirates. agree to 3-year, $39 million contract
The Pirates get their top pitcher back, while Liriano isn’t left waiting for a home for long.
Francisco Liriano was an intriguing alternative to the Jon Lesters and Max Scherzers this offseason, and on the second day of the winter meetings he signed a three-year, $39 million contract with the Pirates, returning him to the team where he’s found success for the last two years.
In his last attempt at free agency, Liriano originally inked a two-year, $12.75 million contract with Pittsburgh, but broke his non-throwing arm before the deal was official, and it was re-negotiated to a one-year, $1 million deal with a vesting option for 2014. The option had multiple amounts it could vest at ($5 million, $6 million, or $8 million) based on the amount of time Liriano spent on the DL in 2013. We know that it did indeed vest, and that Liriano did an excellent job rehabbing his value while helping the Pirates reach the post-season in back-to-back years.
This time, Liriano entered free agency with the benefit of throwing 160-plus innings in each of the last two seasons (something he hadn’t done from 2011-12), but with the negative of draft pick compensation attached to him, as the Pirates extended the one-year, $15.3 million qualifying offer to Liriano, only to have him decline it. This likely scared some other teams away from Liriano, giving the Pirates the inside track on re-signing him: it looks as if they learned their lesson from a year ago, when they didn’t give A.J. Burnett a similar offer. For their efforts, the Pirates are reunited with a mercurial and somewhat injury-prone pitcher who has the ability to ability for the front of a rotation, but generally lacks the consistency to do so.