Insider Only MLB: Has the Pirates 2 year deal with Francisco Liriano completely blown up?


If Francisco Liriano ends up playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2013, it might be under a one year deal.
The Pirates in December reached a two year agreement with Liriano worth $12.75 million but as the weeks have passed, the deal has never become official.
The reason is Liriano hasn’t been able to pass a physical. Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune-Review reports Liriano hurt his non-throwing arm around Christmas.
The Pirates deal with Liriano is now on hold and indications are the previously agreed terms are now off the table from the Pirates end. Things could get ugly.
The Pirates were bringing Liriano on board to be their No. 3 pitcher.
Liriano, 29, went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA last season. He threw 167 strikeouts in 156 2/3 innings and was 6th in the AL with 87 walks last season splitting time with the Twins and Whitesox. Since his Tommy John Surgery in November 2006, dealing with arm issues has been an issue, ranging from a tired arm to a sore shoulder over the years. Liriano though has averaged over 100 innings the past five seasons and is just two years removed from a masterful 2010 campaign when he went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA and had 201 strikeouts and just 57 walks. That year Liriano’s slider was rated by fangraphs as the best slider in the baseball based off their pitch value.
With Liriano the amount of walks since his excellent 2010 season when he struck out 201 batters and walked just 58 batters in 191.2 innings is concerning.
In 2011, Liriano in 134.1 innings (57.1 innings less than 2010), had just 112 strikeouts (-89 from 2010) and his walks jumped to 75 (+17). Last season splitting time with Twins and Whitesox, his strikeout numbers went up with 167 strikeouts in 156.2 innings (+55 in 22.1 more innings than 2011) but the concern continues to be the walks as he had 87 walks in 2012.
By comparison, A.J. Burnett had just 62 walks in 201.1 innings and James McDonald who struggles at times in walking batters, had 69 walks in 171.1 innings.

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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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