The Pirates finally addressed their anemic starting rotation by signing lefty Francisco Liriano to a two-year deal. It was first reported to be a $14 million contract, although Jon Heyman suggests it’s around $13 million. Liriano joins A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez, and James McDonald in the starting rotation. The fifth spot is still up for grabs.
In his career, he is 53-54 with a 4.40 ERA. He possessed a 5.34 ERA in 34 games with the Twins and White Sox last season. The 29 year old Dominican Republic native is fairly inconsistent and struggles with his control at times. However, Liriano threw a no-hitter in 2011 and struck out 15 batters in one game in 2012, so he definitely has potential for bright spots.
Although it’s a bit expensive for a risky, back-of-the-rotation starter, we think this signing is a good gamble to take. Liriano should benefit as a lefty with the spacious left field at PNC, plus he still has some upside at age 29.
ESPN breaks down the deal:
Here are some links pertaining to the Francisco Liriano signing:
– Dave Cameron of FanGraphs looks at Liriano and the “slow death of ERA.”
– Bucs Dugout‘s Charlie Wilmoth discusses how this deal speaks well of Neal Huntington.
– Rich from This is Getting Old thinks the money should have been spent elsewhere.
– Rumbunter weighs in on the situation.
– Twins blog Puckett’s Pond thinks the signing is worth the risk for the Pirates since they have a few strong pitchers coming up through the system.