Pirates’ deal with free-agent pitcher Francisco Liriano in jeopardy

It was before Christmas that the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitcher Francisco Liriano reportedly came to terms on a two-year contract that would have paid the southpaw over $6 million a season.

But in the two-week span since that time, it was strange that no official announcement on the deal came from the Pirates.

Now we learn that the Liriano deal may be in danger of not happening at all.

Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports that Liriano suffered an injury to his right (non-throwing) arm in December, adding that the Pirates “continue to talk to his agent” and “no deal is imminent.”


It is common for there to be a period of time between reported deals and the actual announcement coming from the organization, but this length of time is very uncommon.

Sept 15, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (58) looks on before delivering a pitch in the seventh inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. The White Sox won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Since the two sides reportedly came to a deal in the first place, the Pirates reacted fast and dumped Joel Hanrahan’s salary, which was viewed as a move in order to pay for Liriano.

In the meantime, the Pirates will look at other options, although there aren’t many quality pitchers on the open market in the Pirates price range at the moment. Pirates’ general manager Neal Huntington also told Biertempfel that the organization could pursue trade options, but now signs point to James McDonald, Jeff Locke and Kyle McPherson filling the 3-5 spots behind A.J. Burnett and Wandy Rodriguez.

“We’re always looking for ways to improve our club,” Huntington said. “But it there is not an acceptable upgrade out there, we’re ready to go forward with this group.”

One thing that is for sure and that is without Liriano, and Hanrahan for that matter, in the mix, the Pirates pitching staff is weaker today than it was just one day ago.

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Topics: Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates

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