Francisco Liriano Should Be Pirates Top Priority At Winter Meetings
Sep 11, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Francisco Liriano (47) throws a pitch during the first inning Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. The Pirates defeated the Phillies, 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The MLB Winter Meetings are finally upon us and this is the time of the year that is almost as exciting as the season itself. Big deals, odd trades and sometimes even more happen during the spectacle and if the Pittsburgh Pirates really want to show they are ready to target a long playoff run, they need to re-sign pitcher Francisco Liriano.
Liriano has been a pleasant surprise since joining the Bucs under the tutelage of pitching coach Ray Searage. Liriano was thought to be a work in progress after surgery a few years back, but his move to the Pirates seemed to fix him immediately. Back when Liriano was with the Minnesota Twins, he relied on throwing heat and mixing in off-speed only when it was absolutely necessary. Now, Liriano has become much more of a pitcher than a thrower. He is capable of not only beating any team at any given time; he can do so in style. Liriano has a wide range of stuff in his arsenal and that is what makes him so tough. Liriano only amassed seven victories in 2014, but he did have a 3.38 ERA. If he does rejoin the club that reignited his career, the pitching staff will be the best in the National League Central. Liriano would be the No. 2 starter behind Gerrit Cole and would push A.J. Burnett into a more fitting No. 3 slot. Jeff Locke and Vance Worley would round out the rotation. This, of course, leaves Charlie Morton out of the mix, but he could be used as trade-bait.
There are plenty of pitching options out there with Brandon McCarthy, Edinson Volquez and Jason Hammel available. The Pirates have been acting very slowly since the offseason started, but with $15 million to play with and the clear need to add a pitching, the team would be stupid not to throw cash at Liriano.