Pittsburgh Pirates: Assessing the Best Free Agent Signings of the Past 25 Years

Which GM has the best track record of attracting talent to Pittsburgh?
Milwaukee Brewers v Pittsburgh Pirates
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Francisco Liriano (Feb. 2013… it’s complicated)

Liriano was in line for a two-year, $12.75 million contract before he broke his right arm “attempting to scare his kids.” The injury resulted in a revised one-year, $1 million deal with a vesting option for 2014, and boy, did Liriano earn every additional penny. In 2013, the lefty won 16 games and propelled the Pirates to a Wild Card victory over the Reds in their first postseason appearance since 1992.

Liriano experienced mixed success in 2014 and rejected Pittsburgh’s qualifying offer at the end of the season. Ultimately he returned to the Pirates on a three-year, $39 million deal. Like Huntington’s other notable free-agent pickups, Liriano was dealt as a cost-cutting measure, and like Huntington’s other salary-dumping moves, the trade returned little on-field value.

Along with Liriano, the Pirates sent former first-round pick Reese Mcguire and outfield prospect Harold Ramirez to Toronto for Drew Hutchison. Hutchison saw limited time in the Majors in 2016 and spent 2017 with Indianapolis before being released by the club. Meanwhile, Ramirez has turned into a serviceable outfielder and DH with good bat-to-ball skills.