Tag: Francisco Liriano

Francisco Liriano Injury: Updates on Blue Jays P’s Concussion, Return

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Francisco Liriano suffered a concussion in Game 2 of his team’s playoff series against the Texas Rangers after being hit in the head by a line drive off the bat of Carlos Gomez.

It’s unclear when he will return to the field.

Continue for updates.

Liriano Replaced on ALDS Roster

Saturday, Oct. 8

Scott MacArthur of TSN reported the Blue Jays have replaced Liriano with Danny Barnes on their American League Division Series roster.

Latest on Liriano’s Status

Saturday, Oct. 8

Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com reported Liriano is in Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol.

ESPN.com’s Marly Rivera reported Liriano was released from the hospital and flew back to Toronto with the Blue Jays.

Per USA Today‘s Jorge L. Ortiz, Liriano was taken to an ambulance on a stretcher while wearing a neck brace.

Ortiz added that Liriano was being checked out after a liner off Carlos Gomez’s bat hit him in the head.

The incident occurred when Liriano tried to get out of the way of Gomez’s comebacker in the bottom of the eighth inning. The ball struck the pitcher on the side of the head and caromed into the outfield.

Liriano a Lockdown Reliever for Blue Jays

The Blue Jays starting rotation has done a terrific job of containing Texas’ offense so far in the ALDS. Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ have earned wins in each of the first two games, allowing a combined two runs on 13 hits with 11 strikeouts in 13.1 innings.

Liriano pitched to four batters in Friday’s game, recording one out and allowing two runs on two hits and one walk. He tossed 1.2 scoreless innings in the Blue Jays’ Wild Card Game win over the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday.

The Blue Jays added Liriano before the Aug. 1 non-waiver trade deadline to provide depth and take pressure off Aaron Sanchez, who threw a total of 125.1 innings at the major league level over the previous two years and surpassed that total by mid-July this year.

Losing Liriano is not a problem the Blue Jays wanted to deal with at this point in the season. However, they are set up well. Sanchez, Happ, Estrada and Marcus Stroman form an excellent starting quartet alongside solid depth in the bullpen, so Toronto can get by in the short term without the big left-hander.

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Francisco Liriano to Blue Jays: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

The Toronto Blue Jays announced Monday that they acquired starting pitcher Francisco Liriano from the Pittsburgh Pirates prior to MLB‘s trade deadline. 

The Pirates also sent catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez, their eighth- and ninth-ranked prospects, respectively, per MLB.com, to the Blue Jays.

In return, Toronto shipped struggling starter Drew Hutchison, who was optioned to Triple-A on July 8, to the Pirates.

Liriano is trudging through one of the worst seasons of his career with a 6-11 record and 5.46 ERA. The 32-year-old, who is owed nearly $13.7 million next season, according to Spotrac, was dealt as “a pure salary dump,” per Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.

The 59-46 Blue Jays currently sit 0.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East thanks in part to their strong rotation. Blue Jays starters have posted a team 3.71 ERA, which is fifth-best in the majors.

However, Marcus Stroman, who was perceived as the team’s ace heading into the 2016 season, has a rotation-worst 4.92 ERA. Former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey is 7-12 with a 4.66 mark. 

While Stroman and Dickey have struggled, the Blue Jays have received dazzling contributions from Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada:

Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada Stats
  Games Started Record ERA Strikeouts
Aaron Sanchez 21 11-1 2.71 118
J.A. Happ 21 14-3 3.16 111
Marco Estrada 18 6-4 3.02 108


Before this nightmare season, Liriano had an ERA under 3.40 in each of the past three years, but his ERA was above 5.00 three times between 2009 and 2012. His best campaign in recent seasons came in 2013, when he went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA.

The Blue Jays and their fans will be hoping that Liriano can recapture his 2013-15 form, which would further bolster their rotation and postseason hopes.

Adding another arm who can deal with the big bats of the Orioles and Boston Red Sox may be the difference between playing in October and watching the postseason on TV. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Francisco Liriano Injury: Updates on Pirates Star’s Hamstring and Return

With the Pittsburgh Pirates facing stiff competition in the loaded National League Central, an injury to star pitcher Francisco Liriano‘s hamstring will be a cause for concern. 

Continue for updates. 

Liriano to Miss Next Start

Tuesday, April 12

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Liriano has been scratched from his upcoming start and is considered day-to-day. Ryan Vogelsong will start Wednesday in his place. 

Liriano’s career has been defined as much by injuries as by his performance, though the narrative has changed during his time in Pittsburgh. The 32-year-old tied a career high with 31 starts and set a new career benchmark with 205 strikeouts last season. 

Pittsburgh is fortunate to have Gerrit Cole anchoring the rotation, but depth is no longer a strength for the group. A.J. Burnett retired, and Charlie Morton was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies

The Pirates do have reinforcements waiting in the minors, led by top prospect Tyler Glasnow, but Liriano’s dominance will not be easily replaced. 

The Pirates are one of the National League’s best teams, but the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs are formidable in the division. Liriano’s health will be a huge factor in determining how far this team goes in 2016. 

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Francisco Liriano Signing Keeps Perfect Marriage Together in Pittsburgh

The Pittsburgh Pirates are keeping the gang together.

Having already signed free-agent right-hander A.J. Burnett earlier in the offseason, the Pirates agreed to bring back left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano on a three-year, $39 million contract on Tuesday, per Robert Murray of MLBDailyRumors.com:

According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, the deal is the largest the Pirates have ever given to a free agent, surpassing the two-year, $17 million pact Russell Martin inked before the 2012 season.

The 31-year-old has been excellent in the Pirates’ starting rotation over the past two seasons, posting a 3.20 ERA and 3.26 fielding independent pitching (FIP) in 323.1 innings while making 55 starts.

Liriano’s 9.41 strikeouts per nine innings (K/9) and 52.4 percent ground-ball rate during that time frame rank eighth and ninth, respectively, among all starters with at least 300 innings pitched.

He also allowed just 0.61 home runs per nine innings (HR/9) over the last two seasons, good for eighth in MLB.

With that said, Liriano’s control regressed considerably in 2014 (4.49 BB/9) and resulted in about one extra walk per nine innings compared to the previous year (3.52 BB/9). However, as has been the case for most of his career, the left-hander’s ability to miss bats and keep the ball on the ground helped minimize any negative impact stemming from his uptick in free passes.

Liriano has been key to the Pirates’ winning ways the past two years, as he anchored the pitching staff and netted the team 4.7 wins (fWAR).

Assuming Liriano passes his physical, the Pirates’ 2015 starting rotation will feature the same three-headed monster of Liriano, Burnett and Gerrit Colealong with the less heralded Charlie Mortonthat helped them crack a 20-year playoff drought back in 2013.

Three years and $39 million seems like a fair price for the Pirates, but it’s difficult to ignore Liriano’s extensive injury history and the reality that he’s probably not going make 30 starts or pile up innings.

For Dave Cameron of FanGraphs, the left-hander’s durability isn’t overly concerning.

“Even if you discount that performance for the lower total of innings pitched, Liriano looks like a plus-two WAR pitcher for 2015, with some upside beyond that. In this market, $39 million for that kind of value looks like a pretty nice steal for the Pirates,” he wrote.

Liriano’s dominance when healthy over the past two years makes the deal well worth the risk for the Pirates, especially given the overall strength of their rotation.

With Liriano locked up for the next three seasons, the Pirateswho entered the winter meetings with at least $15 million to spend toward the 2015 season, per Rob Biertempfel of TribLive.comare expected to add even more pitching depth this offseason.

Biertempfel reports they have expressed interest in free-agent reliever Pat Neshek.


Advanced statistics courtesy of FanGraphs.

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Francisco Liriano to Pirates : Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Francisco Liriano declined the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ initial qualifying offer but was able to negotiate and secure a long-term deal to remain with the club on Tuesday.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports Liriano is in Pittsburgh to stay after signing a new three-year contract:

HardballTalk.com’s Aaron Gleeman highlights how impressive Liriano has been during his two years in Pittsburgh:

Battle-tested, resilient starters like Liriano, who is still capable of performing at an All-Star level, are difficult to come by. The premium placed on starting pitching, often a catalyst for postseason success, bolsters Liriano’s value even more.

Liriano, 31, has experienced a number of peaks and valleys throughout his MLB career, evident in his two Comeback Player of the Year awards (2010, 2013). All the adversity that preceded this and the hard work Liriano put in to overcome the hurdles along the way have culminated in a fresh, promising situation in Pittsburgh.

The Pirates have undergone a dramatic change in culture, making the postseason each of the past two seasons after a prolonged playoff drought that began in 1993. Liriano’s arrival coincided with the change, making him a valuable cornerstone to keep in the clubhouse.

A victim of underwhelming run support in 2014, Liriano had a stellar 3.38 ERA but managed just a 7-10 record in 29 starts.

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1 Sleeper Free-Agent Target for the Yankees at Every Position of Need

After not making the playoffs for the second year in a row, it is clear the New York Yankees will have to make some moves this winter if they intend to compete in 2015.

It’s the Yankees, so you know that is exactly what their intentions are.

This is a talented free-agent class, headlined by players such as Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, James Shields, Pablo Sandoval, Nelson Cruz and Hanley Ramirez. All of these guys are sure to cash in this offseason when the time comes for them to sign a new contract.

The race to sign these players and others will be a competition among countless teams. With needs at shortstop, third base and in the rotation, the Yankees may just have to get creative when it comes time to decide who it is they are going to bring in.

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Francisco Liriano Injury: Updates on Pirates SP’s Side and Return

The positive mood created by Gregory Polanco’s MLB debut was dampened a bit after Pittsburgh Pirates starter Francisco Liriano exited the game after three innings. The team announced that he was suffering from discomfort in his left side:

Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette provided more details after the Pirates’ 7-3 loss to the Cubs:

In his three innings on the mound Tuesday night, Liriano surrendered two runs on three hits, striking out four. He was replaced by Jeanmar Gomez.

Like the Pirates as a whole, Liriano has failed to create the magic of last season. He won’t be on the hook for the decision on Tuesday, so his record will remain 1-6. The three runs given up raise his ERA to 4.60, which is fourth in Pittsburgh’s starting rotation.

The Pirates aren’t exactly in a position where they can afford to lose a regular starter, though, no matter how much Liriano has struggled.

This is just one more roadblock for the team as it tries to reignite its postseason hopes.

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How Johnny Cueto, Francisco Liriano Match Up Against NL Wild Card Game Offenses

The pieces are all in place for the National League Wild Card Game. The teams, the venue and the pitching matchup have been decided.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds were locked in as the Senior Circuit’s two wild-card clubs the moment the St. Louis Cardinals clinched the NL Central with a win over the Chicago Cubs on Friday night.

And after using a six-home run barrage to notch a second straight win against the Reds on Saturday afternoon, the Pirates earned the right to host the play-in game on Tuesday.

As Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported, on the mound for the Pirates is going to be Francisco Liriano. John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer, meanwhile, reported on Saturday that Reds manager Dusty Baker has settled on Johnny Cueto as his starter.

After taking a look at a few numbers, I can say the following: Tuesday’s game should be a good one. There are things working in favor of both pitchers and both teams.

Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. Cueto has gotten the nod for the start, but is he ready for it? He has, after all, been battling shoulder injuries for much of 2013 and has only made two starts since being activated off the disabled list.

The two starts Cueto’s made are a bit of a mixed bag. He only allowed one earned run in 12 innings, sure, but he did so against the Houston Astros and New York Mets and wasn’t totally overpowering. He collected only 10 strikeouts to four walks, with one home run allowed.

But while I hesitate to say “He’s back!,” based on his performances against the Astros and Mets, it is encouraging that Cueto’s arm appears to be at full strength or near enough to it. Per Brooks Baseball, here’s how his fastball velocity in his last two starts compare to what he had in 2012.

There’s a small velocity gap between what Cueto had in 2012 and what he’s had in his last two starts, but that it’s only a small gap is the good news. It’s not as if Cueto is missing three, two or even one mile per hour off the velocity he had last year.

So despite the fact Cueto doesn’t have as many appearances under his belt as Liriano, I’d say we’re looking at a fair fight. That’s our go-ahead to dig a little deeper into a variety of super-interesting statistical stuffitude. 

You’ve probably heard it mentioned that Liriano has had a tendency to own at PNC Park. And this is very much true, as he has a 1.47 ERA at Pittsburgh’s home park in 2013, holding hitters to a .474 OPS.

But hey, Cueto’s been in his element at PNC Park, too. He has a 1.90 ERA in 13 starts in his career at PNC Park and has held hitters to a .544 OPS there. Per Baseball-Reference.com, Cueto doesn’t have a lower ERA at any other park in which he’s made at least three starts.

And since he’s not the one who’s pitching in the NL Central for the first time in 2013, Cueto is, obviously, more experienced pitching against the Pirates than Liriano is pitching against the Reds. Cueto owns a 2.37 ERA in 21 career starts against the Pirates, which looks better than the 3.70 ERA Liriano has in four starts against the Reds this season.

But since Cueto has racked up his impressive career ERA over several seasons against several different versions of the Pirates, let’s narrow our focus a bit and see how he’s done against the players he’s likely to come up against on Tuesday.

The following numbers are courtesy of ESPN.com:

It must be a welcome sight for Reds fans that Cueto has handled Pedro Alvarez and Neil Walker so well, as Alvarez has killed the Reds the last two days and Walker blasted two homers in Saturday’s game. He’s also handled Clint Barmes, Russell Martin and Starling Marte well, albeit in a limited number of head-to-head matchups.

Cueto will have to be careful with Andrew McCutchen and Marlon Byrd, but one wonders if he’ll have to worry about facing Garrett Jones.

Justin Morneau has played first base on an everyday basis since coming over from Minnesota, while Jones has been left to waste away on the bench in the meantime. He has only four hits in his last 31 at-bats, so Clint Hurdle might be sticking with Morneau on Tuesday.

If so, Cueto will be facing a lineup with only two hitters who have hurt him in the past in it. How about Liriano?

With numbers once again courtesy of ESPN.com, here’s a look:

There’s not a whole lot of history here, but it does bode well for Liriano that he’s handled Shin-Soo Choo well in their head-to-head matchups, which, of course, date back to when they were both playing in the AL Central.

It also bodes well that he’s handled Jay Bruce, Brandon Phillips and Joey Votto, as they’re the ones who do the bulk of the heavy lifting in Baker’s batting order. And since Choo, Bruce and Votto are lefty hitters, Liriano could be shutting them down again on Tuesday.

As for the three who have pummeled LirianoRyan Ludwick, Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco—it’s likely that Liriano will only have to deal with two of them in Tuesday’s game. Ryan Hanigan has been the starting catcher in 10 of Cueto’s 11 starts this season and also caught 32 of Cueto’s 33 starts in 2012. He’ll probably be out there to catch him once again.

So what we have here is a push. In all likelihood, both Cueto and Liriano are going to be facing lineups that contain only two hitters who have hurt them in past matchups. And in the case of the Reds against Liriano, the numbers against him aren’t entirely indicative of how the team has fared against lefty starters this season.

On the contrary, the Reds have actually done quite well against southpaws this season. Here’s some data from Baseball-Reference.com:

The Reds have been slightly less effective against southpaw starters, but only slightly. That .711 OPS they have isn’t low relative to other teams either. Per Baseball-Reference.com, the Reds rank about in the middle of the pack in MLB in OPS against lefty starters.

As for the Pirates, I’ll note that they only had a .698 OPS against righty starters heading into Saturday’s game. Things aren’t so bad after hitting five home runs against Bronson Arroyo on Saturday, but there’s still quite a difference between their performances against lefty starters and righty starters.

The Pirates have done considerably worse this season against right-handed starters than they have against left-handed starters. It’s also relevant to our discussion that they’ve done worse against righty starters than the Reds have against lefty starters.

It’s not much, but that will do for a point in favor of the Reds. From here, let’s take pitching styles under consideration, shall we?

Liriano and Cueto are two different pitchers. With a strikeout rate in the neighborhood of 25 percent, Liriano is more of a power pitcher.

Cueto, on the other hand, is more of an average strikeout pitcher. What he’s better at is racking up ground balls, as FanGraphs has his ground-ball percentages over the last three seasons right around 50 percent. That’s easily above-average territory.

While the site’s stats for ground balls differ slightly from those of FanGraphs, Baseball-Reference.com does track how teams do against certain types of pitchers. That means we can compare how the Reds have done against power pitchers this season to how the Pirates have done against ground-ball pitchers.

So let’s do so:

It’s a small advantage, granted, but the Reds have done better against power pitchers than the Pirates have done against ground-ball pitchers. That’ll do for another point in favor of the Reds.

There’s one last place we can look for a potential advantage, and that’s in how Liriano and Cueto tend to go after hitters. To this end, there’s something that they have in common.

Liriano doesn’t have a tendency to throw pitch after pitch in the strike zone. According to Baseball Info Solutions data by way of FanGraphs, Liriano actually ranks second to last among qualified starting pitchers in Zone%, that being the percentage of pitches he throws inside the strike zone.

However, Cueto doesn’t live in the strike zone either. Both he and Liriano are pitchers who rely on getting hitters to expand the strike zone a bit more than the average starting pitcher, as the following table can show:

Note: We’re looking at Cueto’s numbers spanning 2012 and 2013 because his 2013 numbers alone represent too small a sample size.

Since both Liriano and Cueto both require hitters to be undisciplined to a certain degree, logic says that the team facing the more disciplined lineup on Tuesday will be in for a challenge. 

To this end, the numbers say that Cueto has the better matchup. With another assist from FanGraphs:

It’s close, but Reds hitters have had a tendency to take fewer swings outside the strike zone. The gap is less small in the number of swings these two clubs have taken inside the strike zone, as the Reds have been more prolific in doing so.

It’s absolutely worth noting that Liriano knows about Cincinnati’s relative discipline from experience. He walked seven in 12.1 innings in his last two starts against the Reds. One of those was an excellent eight-inning performance in which he got away with some wildness. The other saw him leave after only logging 4.1 innings.

If you’re a Pirates fan, you should still be optimistic about your team’s chances of advancing to the National League Division Series. The Buccos will be going into the game with some momentum, and they’ll have both the home field and a guy on the mound who has dominated on that home field. If the Reds aren’t on their game, he could do so again.

But based on what we’ve looked at, Reds fans can be optimistic, too. Cueto’s arm appears to be in solid shape. He has a good track record against the Pirates and at PNC Park, and he owns quality career numbers against some of Pittsburgh’s top hitters. Also, the Pirates would appear to be less cut out for a matchup against him than the Reds are for a matchup against Liriano.

So basically…who’s ready for a good baseball game?


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2013 All Star Roster: Pitchers with a Bone to Pick with Roster

With the 2013 MLB All-Star Game rosters finally revealed, some pitchers might be staring at the selections in disbelief. 

The MLB tweeted both rosters’ pitchers:

Because the All-Star selection process isn’t an exact science, there’s plenty of room for error on the part of the fans. Expecting a pool of partisan voters to get the best pitchers into the game is bound to leave some deserving hurlers out in the cold. 

Here are a few pitchers who can make a legitimate claim that they should be pitching in New York. 


Grant Balfour, Oakland Athletics

Tossing aside all advanced metrics and other stats, a closer’s job is to close out games. Nobody has done that more efficiently this season than Oakland Athletics closer Grant Balfour. 

The 35-year-old Australian native has been 22-of-22 on save opportunities and is the only closer who has converted every single save opportunity thrown his way this season. 

Aside from being the best at doing his job this season, Balfour has the stats to warrant a roster spot. He sports a WHIP of 1.10 and an ERA of 1.82. Considering that American League All-Star reliever Mariano Rivera posted a WHIP of 1.21 and ERA of 1.39, those two are close statistically. 

To top it all off, Balfour has set a club record for consecutive saves, according to ESPN Stats & Info:

However, none of that was good enough to earn Balfour a trip to New York.


Francisco Liriano, Pittsburgh Pirates

Yes, Francisco Liriano missed an entire month of the season, but he’s one of the best pitchers in baseball right now. 

If he had enough innings pitched to qualify as a league leader, he would be among the elite in nearly every statistical category. The lefty has an ERA of 2.20, which would be third in the National League.

The 8-3 Liriano has posted an impressive 9.56 K/9 ratio, placing him fourth among National League pitchers. 

Liriano’s exclusion is somewhat understandable because of his lack of innings, but his numbers are good enough for him to have a legitimate gripe about being left off the roster. 


Greg Holland, Kansas City Royals

With all due respect to catcher Salvador Perez and the season he has had for Kansas City, there’s no way that he should have been the team’s All-Star representative over closer Greg Holland. 

Holland is one of the few bright spots on an otherwise struggling team, which isn’t the best place for a closer to be. But he has shined in the role. 

The 27-year-old rocks an ERA of 1.97 and has capitalized on 19-of-21 save opportunities while posting a K/9 ratio of 14.9—a number that is only topped by Cincinnati Reds flamethrower Aroldis Chapman. 

Playing in the oft-overlooked Royals organization, Holland was bound to be neglected by fans, but few pitchers have better numbers. 

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Francisco Liriano: Breaking Down His Deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates

As a fan of the two Bay Area baseball teams, most of my observed impressions of players around Major League Baseball are based on their performances against the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s.

Thus, I am biased toward new Pittsburgh Pirates starter, Francisco Liriano, who reportedly signed a two-year, $14 million contract on Friday.

On July 13th of last season, I saw him throw his best game of the season against the A’s. He went eight innings, struck out 15, walked one and allowed only four hits. Unfortunately, one of those hits was a grand slam off the bat of Jonny Gomes to give the A’s a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Despite the mistake to Gomes, Liriano’s outing was one of the most dominant performances that I witnessed all season. His fastball was in the 92-95 mph range, and he featured a nasty slider and changeup—two swing and miss secondary pitches.

Yet that July night was the high-water mark in what was otherwise another maddening season for the talented lefty. Despite having excellent fastball velocity and a wipe-out slider, Liriano was demoted to the bullpen before returning to the rotation in time for a midseason trade. He finished the season with a 5.34 ERA in 156.2 innings.

He was 14th in the league in strikeout percentage amongst starters who threw at least 140 innings, proving that he still has some of the best stuff in the game. However, his control continued to hold him back as he finished with the third-highest walk ratio.

Liriano also had a hard time getting right-handed hitters out last season. He held lefties to a .221/.310/.293 batting line, but righties slashed .251/.354/.430 off him.

Part of the reason for his platoon split is that the slider is his best offering, and that pitch is much more effective against lefties. His changeup—which he uses to attack righties—was outstanding in the start I watched against the A’s, but it was otherwise an inconsistent pitch for him last season.

Liriano also had issues pitching out of the stretch. Opponents had an OPS of .796 with men on base compared to just .699 with the bases empty.

Thus, while the Pirates are getting a pitcher with elite stuff, they’re also getting a guy who has a hard time throwing strikes, getting righties outs and pitching from the stretch.

Last winter Pittsburgh took a similar gamble on the talented but enigmatic A.J. Burnett when they acquired him from the New York Yankees. Burnett rewarded the Pirates by trimming nearly two runs off his ERA, predominantly by reducing his walk and home run rates. 

It isn’t hard to imagine Liriano having the same success in his change from the American League to the National League with the Pirates. Just two seasons ago, he ranked as one of the best pitchers in the AL when he put up a 3.62 ERA and four Wins Above Replacement (WAR).

He’s battled injuries and inconsistency since that excellent season, but he’s young enough to get the magic back. As with Burnett, Liriano’s stuff is still plenty good enough to miss bats.

The trick will be getting him to attack the strike zone the way he did two years ago and the way the Pirates got Burnett to last season. As with Burnett, this is a short-term bet on a player with excellent stuff and serious upside, but also with significant flaws.

This is a “boom or bust” deal for the Pirates, but the potential reward far exceeds the financial cost of the contract. When you haven’t made the postseason in two decades, these are the types of gambles that you have to take.

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