Left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano
Last week, the Pirates signed veteran lefty Francisco Liriano to a minor league deal. Liriano’s deal was not a normal minor league deal, though. If he makes the Major League roster his contract has a base salary of $1.8 million, most minor league deals have a base salary less than $1 million, and he can earned an additional $1.5 million in incentives.
As likely all of you reading this know Liriano spent the best three-year stretch of his MLB career with the Pirates from 2013 – 2015. After a bad start to the 2016 season, the Pirates then traded him to the Toronto Blue Jays in July of that season. Since this trade, Liriano has not been the same pitcher.
In 2019 Liriano will make what seems like an overdue move in becoming a full-time relief pitcher. If used properly, which you can read about in greater detail here, Liriano can be an effective reliever for the Pirates in 2019. Despite his recent struggles, Liriano has remained tough on left-handed hitters in recent seasons. Due to this, he can become a needed second lefty in the Pirate ‘pen this season.
Liriano has familiarity with Pirate pitching coach Ray Searage and the organization. This combined with the contract he received and the team’s need for another lefty reliever makes him look likely to crack the Opening Day roster. Barring a disastrous spring, expect Liriano to head to Cincinnati with the team on March 28th.