Pirates Officially Sign Radhames Liz, DFA Josh Lindblom

The Pittsburgh Pirates have officially announced the signing of right-handed pitch Radhames Liz to a one-year deal. The 40-man roster was full with the signing of Francisco Liriano earlier, so recently acquired Josh Lindblom was designated for assignment.

We have heard about the signing of Liz for approximately two weeks now. The Pirates were scouting him in the Dominican, where he was playing winter ball. He had interest from 11 different clubs from three different countries. The deal was originally announced as a two-year deal, but the Pirates announced on Friday that it was for one year. Liz was dominating in winter ball, where Rene Gayo scouted his last start and had him throwing his fastball consistently 95-96 MPH. He has thrown harder in the past and assuming the Pirates use him in a relief role, he should add a few ticks to those numbers. Liz wanted to return to winter ball, but the Pirates shut him down for the winter last week.

Lindblom was just claimed from the Athletics on Monday. The Pirates obviously hope that he is able to sneak through waivers, so they can assign him to AAA Indianapolis.

UPDATE 9:27 PM: As noted by Tim Williams on Twitter, Liz only has 0.133 days of service time in the majors, so the Pirates should control him for the next six years. That would likely explain why he signed a one-year deal. Neal Huntington did mention that the delay did involve some wording in the contract, so it’s possible this isn’t just a standard case where he would be stuck with the team for the next six years until he reaches free agency.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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If he really is under team control for the next 6 years this could be a great deal.

Mike C.

From what I could gather he seemed a pretty good flame throwing type closer in the KBO, although very erratic with bad control. Wasn’t too liked by opposing players cause he hit quite a few of em and showed no remorse.
Also had a mini controversy when he left. Apparently he promised in a verbal way to resign with his team, the LG Twins, but signed with Pittsburgh at the last moment. Fans here seemed pretty raged/betrayed.
Just my 2 cents here from Seoul


“wasn’t too liked by opposing players cause he hit quite a few of em and showed no remorse.”

The rest of the NL Central will LOVE him then.

Monsoon Harvard

Hopefully they can hang on to Lindblom. I think Radhames Liz will somehow win the 5th starter job, or get himself into the rotation at some point.

Lee Foo Young

I’d rather have Buddy Borden. 😅😅😅

Ben Swogger

How do you pronounce his first name? Is it Rod-HAHM-is?

Lukas Sutton

Most helpful post of the entire offseason thus far.

Ben Swogger

Thanks John.

Dave Mccombie

Tim just tweeted that he “realized” Liz has 6 years of control… Think I may have tipped him off on that! Likely the reason for only needing the one year deal at this point.


Yeah, Wilbur’s player page has Liz listed for only 0.132 years of service time. Obviously, you need 3 years to qualify for salary arbitration (except for the Super 2 stuff) and 6 years before you can become a free agent.

However, he has already been granted free agency, so I assume he becomes a free agent again after the season.

So, the Pirates don’t really have any “years of control” on Liz (except this year).


This is one of those things that pushes the knowledge of baseball contracts to the brink!

Liz was not drafted by the Orioles, so I guess he was not bound to them by draft rules.

He used up all of his options with Baltimore.

Has already been waived and claimed.

Has already signed a contract as a minor league free agent.

And has now signed a major league contract as a free agent.

And, I believe, he has accrued enough minor league time, that he could always become a minor league free agent (if he ended up in the minors again.)

All without a full year of service time.

Soooooo, if I understand it correctly. He can’t be sent to the minors (out of options), unless he consents – otherwise, he could declare himself a free agent.

He could accept an assignment to the minors, but would be a minor league free agent after the season.

And he can’t be removed from the 40-man, otherwise he has to be granted free agency (or can that DFA him??)

And he’s already been granted free agency once, so I assume he’s on a contract-to-contract basis. However, he’s not eligible for salary arbitration.

I’m sure I have a bunch of this stuff wrong, but it’s a bit confusing!


Got it. So as long as they don’t try to return him to the minors (he’s out of options anyways), he can’t do anything but accept the Pirates league minimum contract offer next year.


Doesn’t this all seem odd? A player released from their team has more salary value control than a player who remains with their organization? I guess it’s the power of free agency, even minor league free agency. At least at the time of signing a contract, however, unless there’s multiple years, a player returns to only having to be tendered a contract until they qualify for arbitration.


Yeah, I know it’s a strange case. But it seems to me to be odd that the union has a agreement with the league that benefits guys who are released (which would typically assume players who aren’t as good) over guys who are good enough to stay with their organization.

At least in terms of contract value leverage at the time of signing. It just seems strange to me that the league would empower a guy like Liz to make a lot more money during his first 3 years of service time, because he can negotiate any contract he wants, over, say, what Andrew McCutchen or Gregory Polanco makes during their 3 years before arbitration, strictly because they were TOO GOOD to be released!.


Maybe he should have received option year in contract.

Dave Mccombie

Does he come with any years of control? Arbitration years?


oh wow. didn’t even consider this.


Contract value? $1.5M?


John , If Liz were to meet best possible projection to break camp… say he is lights out … What will they do w him?
If best case scenario comes to fruition , is he back of the rotation or back end bullpen ?


Nothing wrong with the likely outcome.. It is a challenging role to fill effectively for the entirety of a season.

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