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Pirates make Liriano signing official, protect themselves well with structure of deal

The Pittsburgh Pirates today announced the signing of free agent left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano to a one-year contract with a vesting option for the 2014 season.
The max worth of Liriano’s contract is 2 years – $12.75 million but Liriano won’t earn the full $12.75 million based on the new structure of the deal as Liriano won’t be ready to start the regular season healthy as he’s recovering from a serious broken arm he suffered in late December.
“We are excited to add Francisco Liriano to our roster,” GM Neal Huntington said in a released statement. “Francisco is recovering from his right arm injury and we look forward to him joining our rotation once he is ready to go.”
An MLB source says the max total of Liriano’s deal for year one is $4.75 million and $8 million in year two. Liriano’s salary for year one, though, is just $1 million guaranteed plus $3.75 million of incentives based on how many days he spends on the disabled list. How long he spends on the DL also affects his 2014 vesting option which is structured to dip below the max total of $8 million (which it will) if he misses a certain amount of games. The Pirates did a good job of protecting themselves. To sum things up, the deal is just $1 million guaranteed with $11.75 million in incentives.
The 29-year-old Liriano went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA (156.2ip/93er) and 167 strikeouts in a total of 34 games (28 starts) with the Twins and White Sox in 2012. He began the season with Minnesota and made 22 appearances (17 starts) before being traded to Chicago on July 28. Liriano’s 9.59 strikeouts/per 9.0ip ratio ranked third among all American League pitchers with at least 100.0ip in 2012.
In his career, Liriano has held left-handed hitters to a .227 batting average and just six home runs in 732 at bats. Over the last three years, he ranks fifth among American League lefthanders with 480 strikeouts and first with an 8.95 strikeout/per 9.0ip ratio. On May 3, 2011, Liriano threw the fifth nohitter in Twins history, blanking the White Sox, 1-0, in Chicago.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Liriano, the Pirates have outrighted right-handed pitcher Vin Mazzaro to Triple-A Indianapolis with an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

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William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at

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