The saga that took place between the Pittsburgh Pirates and left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano turned out to be a long and strange affair, but it looks as if it has finally come to an end.
The Pirates have finally finalized their two-year agreement with the free agent Liriano.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported that Liriano passed his physical and that his contract with the Bucs is now official.
Liriano passed physical. Deal with #Pirates finally official.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) February 8, 2013
The deal now includes language that protects the Pirates in case Liriano misses time due to an injury to his non-throwing arm, Rosenthal reports. Liriano will still earn $12.75 million if he misses no time due to the right arm injury, but his 2013 salary would be reduced if he does miss time because of the injury, which occurred after Liriano reportedly fell in the bathroom last month.
Even though it took some time to become official, the Liriano signing is still a potentially good one for the Pirates.
He is a hard-throwing 29-year-old left-hander (his fastball averaged 93 mph in 2012) with a history of success at the MLB level, even though the 2012 season was a rough one.
Liriano had a 5.34 ERA with 9.6 K/9, 5.0 BB/9 and a 43.8 percent ground ball rate in 156.2 innings. That marked the second consecutive season that he had an ERA above 5.00 while walking 5.0 batters per nine innings.
But as early as 2010, Liriano was getting Cy Young votes, so it is worth the risk to take a chance on real talent for a change.
As it stands now, Liriano will slide into the No. 4 spot in the rotation behind A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald.
Jeff Karstens, Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson and newly signed Jonathan Sanchez will compete for the No. 5 spot.