Trading Francisco Liriano Has Made The 2017 Pittsburgh Pirates Better


Many fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates were outraged when they traded Francisco Liriano last summer. However, this trade has already made the 2017 team better.

On August 1st, 2016, a lot of fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates were outraged. The reason for this was the team trading starting pitcher Francisco Liriano to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Pirates also included struggling prospects Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez in this trade.

In return, the Pittsburgh Pirates received pitcher Drew Hutchison. Additionally, they also received some serious financial flexibility. The financial flexibility came from the Blue Jays picking up the remainder of Liriano’s contract, which was approximately 17 million dollars.

Many fans were outraged because they saw this as a salary dump. And, honestly, it was. However, it was a smart one.

Prior to being traded Francisco Liriano was arguably the worst starting pitcher in the National League. Prior to being traded Liriano led the Major Leagues in walks, he led the National League in home runs allowed, and his 5.46 ERA, 5.28 FIP, and 4.53 xFIP were all abysmal.

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However, Pirate fans remained outrage. Many of them believed that the team would not reallocate the money saved on trading Francisco Liriano elsewhere. Well, Neal Huntington has done just that.

The first such move came just three weeks after trading Liriano. On August 22nd the Pittsburgh Pirates signed infielder David Freese to a two-year contract extension worth 11 million dollars. This locked Freese up through 2018.

The next such move came earlier this week. On Monday, the Pirates and right-handed relief pitcher Daniel Hudson agreed to a two-year contract. This contract will pay Hudson 11 million dollars.

Signing Hudson also addresses one of the team’s big needs entering the offseason. When the offseason began the Pirates’ biggest needs were two starting pitchers and power bullpen arm. Well, Hudson is that power bullpen arm. Additionally, thanks to trading Liriano, the Pirates have been able to add one of their needed starting pitchers.

Yesterday, the Pirates re-signed starting pitcher Ivan Nova. The Bucs and Nova agreed to a three-year contract. This contract is worth, at least, 26 million dollars. Nova can also earn up to 6 million dollars in incentives.

Had the Pirates not traded Liriano, all three of these moves would not have happened. It is possible they would have one of these players under contract for 2017. However, they would not have Freese, Hudson, and Nova.

Next: Potential Fall Out From Re-Signing Nova

This is not where the impact of trading Francisco Liriano ends, though. The Pittsburgh Pirates are in deep trade discussion with the Chicago White Sox about starting pitcher Jose Quintana. If not for the Liriano trade, the Bucs probably could not afford Quintana’s contract in 2017 and beyond.

If the Pirates add Quintana, they will have one of the best starting rotations in the National League. Even without him, this team has gotten a lot better this week. And trading Francisco Liriano last August is a big reason why.