Pirates Reportedly Making Francisco Liriano a Priority

According to Chris Cotillo, the Pittsburgh Pirates are making Francisco Liriano their top priority on the free agent market. Predictions of the free agent market say that Liriano is likely in line for a three-year deal worth between $36-40 M after turning down the Pirates $15.3 M qualifying offer. Cotillo added that Liriano has been linked to both the Red Sox and Royals, but there are no talks of him nearing a deal with any team at this point. If Liriano signs elsewhere, the Pirates will receive a compensation pick in the 2015 amateur draft.

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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Kenny Moore

This team needs Liriano back, he has been our best P over the past two seasons. The Pirates have some talented young arms in the pipeline but it would be a mistake not bringing Liriano back. Its great to hear how hard the team is going hard after him. Liriano is the P I would want on the mound if the Bucs were in a one game must win situation.

Simon Weaver

Please just stop trying to re-sign him. Losing Martin for a 7M year one cap hit and paying Liriano 3 years/40M is a complete joke. Why would you not just sign a good player like Jon Lester for 20M AAV. I never understand this let’s spread 25M over utility and average pitchers instead of trying to be successful. Like for example the whole Gab (DFA), Ike (DFA), Tabata (DFA), Wandy (DFA), and Barmes (UFA) instead of retaining a good player. It makes you wonder their true intentions. Do they really want to be good or do they want to be OK fill the seats and spend OK money so it looks like they’re trying?

Liriano… don’t swing. Make him beat you. Wait until two strikes and then swing. You saw the Giants not swing against Liriano II (Volqy) and bases juiced and one swing and the game is over. You can either continue to be OK or you can make a move for once in your life and have Lester-Cole-Taillon-Burnett and be World Series contenders…. problem is they are cheap and like to build ski lifts at Seven Springs


Please ! Spare me your idea of roster construction, clueless should be your middle name. Possibly you intended that for a PG blog ?


Good idea.. in fact lets just sign three $25m guys and not worry about the remaining 22 players


This is why you will never run a Major league franchise!


I’m not surprised to see this at all. I have figured all along they will bring Frankie back. The Sanchez DFA was not surprising either, it’s time to move on there. I like the Rodriguez pickup and I expect Liriano plus one more starter to be signed.


I find the smug use of that acronym about the front office ungrateful and frankly ineffective … I refer again to my profile pic, The Buccaneer w the tear drop…Not just a reason for gratitude but a signpost representing the remarkable Arcitecture and vision this took. As of 2003 it may have seemed as tho it couldn’t get worse. By 2007 there wasn’t a brick left standing or any sign of a foundation …After the dynamite charge that was David Littlefield …… The guy must have spent most his time getting tailored for thousand dollar suits ..He blew us to smithereens , but he and his wife looked damn good doing it.. Point is , not only could I unclentch my jaw , but now have these lofty expectations of being a playoff team in our “small” market, cus it certainly is a small market. TGI- BMTIB. THANK GOODNESS ! !


I love the use of bmtib… there may be others that are just as good but there isn’t any that are better. . Some folks just aren’t seeing the process

John Lease

I guess the Cardinals are almost as good, or just as good? How about the Giants? The results are what counts. 2 wild card berths doesn’t get you to Cooperstown.


Blah blah hippitty hooplah


It should be the “bmtis”


TBMTIB has a long way to go to become the New England Patriots.


Good point. Lol


We have the potential for such remarkable pitching depth … Hopefully by spring 2016. That leaves a valley wide and deep enough to require a bridge that may cost up to $25mill… So many of the starters in this yrs FA class don’t meet the Bucco criteria for reclamation… Basically due to injury. Although Frankie & Eddy aren’t young they are known commodities & Eddy’s climb can resume where it left off in Sept… Both the coaching and the players can benefit from the continuity. I am okay with spending any remaining dollars on these two pitchers. Hopefully 3yrs & 2yrs respectively gets it done… Going as far as $25mill split however needed between them to get it done.At the end of those deals , We will ideally have gotten the best of their arms and see a new influx of funds to fill in around the new stable of team controlled young horses. Ah, here’s to a perfect world.


Wake me up when the ink is dry. weren’t the Pirates making Martin a priority too..We all know he priced himself right out the Pirates range, which is usually to going rate. So unless Liriano can’t find some sort of decent deal, he won’t be back either. Then they will make Volquez their focus, which I don’t see anybody giving him any long term deal, so he will come back on the cheap.Thats music to Nuttings ears!!!


Offer him 3 years $40M and see if that gets it done. I bet it would. It’s been a pretty good offseason so far for the BMTIB. Getting something for Ike Davis, adding a much needed middle of the rotation guy in Burnett, aggressively pursuing and acquiring Cervelli to help at catcher, and I really like Sean Rodriguez as a bench guy. However, they still desperately need a #2 starter to slot between Cole and AJ. Liriano is that guy. Cole, Liriano, Burnett, Worley, and Locke is an above average rotation. And it gets even better in May when Morton returns to bump Locke out of there. Plus Kingham and Taillon are possibilities come summer. Get it done, NH.


I would not pay him 3-40 unless we were out of options. 3-36 is the max, i doubt we’d be outbid based on the loss of a draft pick another team would have to suck up.

Kenny Moore

Liriano would be crazy signing a 3-36 deal with the amount of money P have been getting over the past two years. His market is easily at 14-15 per and maybe more if a team that missed out on Lester gets desperate.


Not likely.

Over the past two years (2012-2013) the big contracts (>$10 million per year) are as follows:

2012 (40 available free agents – no retires – 17 went unsigned heading into the beginning of the season)

Ryan Dempster – 2 Years @ $13.25 million per year
Zack Grenke – 6 Years @ $24.5 million per year
Dan Haren – 1 Year @ $13 million per year
Edwin Jackson – 4 Years @ $13 million per year
Hiroki Kuroda – 1 Year @ $15 million per year
Andy Pettitte – 1 Year @ $12 million per year
Anibal Sanchez – 5 Years @ $16 million per year

2013 (47 available free agents – 3 retires – 9 unsigned, 10 took minor league contracts)
Bronson Arroyo – 2 Years @ $11.75 million per year
A. J. Burnett – 1 Year @ $16 million per year
Bartolo Colon – 2 Years @ $10 million per year
Scott Feldman – 3 Year @ $10 million per year
Matt Garza – 4 Years @ $12.5 million per year
Tim Hudson – 2 Years @ $11.5 million per year

Ubaldo Jimenez – 4 Years @ $12 million per year
Scott Kazmir – 2 Years @ $11 million per year
Hiroki Kuroda – 1 Year @ $16 million per year
Ricky Nolasco – 4 Years @ $12.25 million per year
Masahiro Tanaka – 7 Years @ $22 million per year

On this list that amounts to 5 free agent starting pitchers signing for $15 million / year or more over the last two years – Tanaka, Kuroda (twice), Burnett, Sanchez, and Grenke. Two of them got Yankee money (Tanaka and Kuroda), one is now with the Pirates at half the price (Burnett) and the other two hit the proverbial lottery – Grenke with the free spending Dodgers and Sanchez with the almost as free spending Tigers.

Consider that – 5 free agent starters out of 87 received contracts in the price range you are talking (about 6%). Even if you take the view that $10 million in 2012 is equivalent to $14-$15 million this year, you are still only talking about 17 free agents out of 87 (19.5%) receiving the equivalent of a $14-$15 million contract in the last two years.


This is the list of available free agent starting pitchers (27 available since Burnett was signed). 20% of 28 is roughly 5-6. Does Liriano rate in the top 5-6 on this list in terms of performance / anticipated contract value? I don’t think he does.

John Lease

Your figures don’t support your argument. They support the previous posters. If Bronson Arroyo is worth 250K less than 12 million a year, Liriano is worth a whole lot more.


That’s like saying that if A. J. Burnett was worth $16 million last year then Liriano is worth $18 million this year. My argument was that only a very few pitchers got the kind of money Kenny is talking about in the last two years.

Everyone hears about the few big contracts. No one bothers to notice that those contracts are quite rare in the big scheme of things.


I’d love to see Liriano back on a 3-year deal, and then see Brett Anderson sneak in on a 1-year (or 2 with team option), incentive-based agreement.


so would I.


he won’t sign until all of the big 3 do, just in case it makes one of the losers desperate. he’d be a fool to do otherwise.


My guess is that Scherzer will wind up as Tiger / Yankee. If he is a Tiger, the Yankees stay internal and ride McCarthy, Pineda, Tanaka, Kuroda, and bring up a fifth from the minors / make a small offseason acquisition. If he is a Yankee, the Tigers sign David Price to a long term deal and move on.

Lester, I would venture, is going to be a Cub or a Red Sox next year. If the Cubs nab Lester, it is unlikely the Red Sox will pursue Liriano. If Lester is a Red Sox, the Cubs may try for Liriano.

Shields is the most interesting of the three. Obviously the Royals would love to have him back. He may be targeted by the Red Sox if they lose out on Lester, but I don’t think the Royals would bend over backwards to get Liriano in that event.

Oh what fun the “what if” game.

Once the Lester lands, Liriano’s potential suitors become better defined.


I don’t think anything happens until Lester/Scherzer/Shields are off the market. But it makes sense to try and keep Frankie around.

dr dng

Sorry, but 36-40 m for 3 years for a guy who did not win 10 games on a winning team
is too much. Maybe 2 years and $24 m. and that’s just maybe.

Sorry, I am still stinging from what we paid Wandy to sit home last year.


The wins aren’t overly important. His effectiveness is…and he’s that.

However, durability is also a key and I’m wary of the Bucs committing such a large percentage of their payroll on an injury-plagued pitcher who’s topped 165 IP in just one of ten seasons.

I’m sure someone amongst the stat-heads here can ramble off a list of names, but I really can’t come up with many pitchers who were injured in almost every season they played…then, in their 30s, found consistent health.

I loved having Liriano on the team, but the Pirates may just want to be happy with two good, low-cost, seasons and a decent draft pick.


With Liriano, the innings and durability are two separate issues. As far as games started Liriano has the following record:
2014 – 29 starts
2013 – 26 starts
2012 – 28 starts
2011 – 24 starts
2010 – 31 starts
2009 – 24 starts
2008 – 14 starts (recovering from Tommy John, spent significant time in the Minor Leagues)
2007 – Missed season (Tommy John surgery)

In terms of games started, Liriano has been fairly reliable. The lack of innings is more a function of his pitching style.

Kenny Moore

That’s the biggest knock on Frankie. I wish his durability was better. I might be in the minority because I think he is better than Cole. I know that Cole throws fire and we get super excited every time he pitches but if the Bucs needed one win I would pick him over Cole. Yeah his wins were down last season but that stats doesn’t really tell how effective a P is. I don’t like to hear that the Red Sox are interested. They could easily toss out a 4 year 60-65 million dollar deal with ease.


You mean last year and the year before that. In 2013 Wandy pitched 62 2/3 innings for the Pirates. In 2014 Wandy pitched 26 2/3 innings.

As for not winning 10 games – a lot of that is that Liriano is a chase pitch (slider, chang up out of the zone) pitcher. There were several times last year when Liriano would have pitch counts in the 90’s going into the 6th inning. His walk totals weren’t terrible, but he would often not be in the game long enough to get the win.

Two years ago, Liriano led the majors in chase percentage:

dr dng

does that come to more than $500,000 per inning for Wandy in 2014?

Ugg, that hurts. (and some of those innings they should of paid us to watch!)


wins are one of the worst ways to evaluate a pitcher. A guy can give up 6 runs, but he could still get a win because his team scored him 8. On the other hand, he could give up 2, but his offense could score 1 and he would get the loss.

3/36 is a great deal for Liriano.


Agreed… 3/36 is a good deal for FL.

And I would not be disappointed to see EV return on a 2-3 year deal… I think EV has more upside – his second half performance in ’14 was incredible.

I think EV will be signed in the 2/18 – 3/26 range.


That is the price of admission for decent FA pitchers. Which is why it is important the Pirates develop their own. Develop your own and then trade them with 2 years remaining to restock.


Strange, strange transactions this 1st day of December, but Sean Rodriguez can help the Pirates as the multi-purpose infield backup. He was a favorite of many Pirate fans for years, but he never matured into the player many thought he was capable of becoming. Gaby is sort of 1B or bust, so advantage Pirates. I doubt the Pirates are going to get Liriano, but they just made sure that whoever gets him will pay through the nose.

Mike Adamson

Make it happen… No thanks on Volquez


I think Volquez would make a great #4 . Cole, Frankie, AJ, Volquez and Vanimal. No lefty, but I like the rotation.


Frankie is a lefty.


Duh. Forgot. Thanks.


We have the financial flexibility to sign him. He would be my top choice of any free agent starter on the market due to the fact he won’t require an outrages long term contract. Let’s get this deal done Neal!!!!

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