Francisco Liriano’s Revised Deal

As if Francisco Liriano’s situation wasn’t already strange, his new contract adds a twist. The left-hander previously agreed to a two-year, $12.75 M deal. After his fall in the bathroom, Liriano’s deal was revised, and finally made official today. The new agreement was a one year deal with a vesting option for 2014. Tom Singer was the first to mention that Liriano’s new deal only guarantees him $1 M in 2013.

Bill Brink had more details, which are outlined in his article on the Post-Gazette. The basics:

**Liriano could earn an additional $3.75 M in 2013 based on days spent on the DL.

**Liriano has an $8 M option in 2014 that could vest at $5 M, $6 M, or $8 M, depending on his 2013 DL time.

**If his deal vests for less than $8 M in 2014, he can make up the difference based on games started in 2014.

So Liriano only gets $1 M guaranteed over one year now, as opposed to $12.75 M guaranteed over two years. He’ll have to earn the rest of his contract, and the only way to do that is to remain healthy.

The 40-man payroll page has been updated with the new details. Also, the Pirates outrighted Vin Mazzaro to Triple-A to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Liriano.

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Shane Joseph Thompson

Guys guys guys! You’re obsession with stats is overwhelming! Stats don’t say everything about a guy. In fact, when it comes to prospects it says next to nothing! Matt Hague has had amazing AAA stats and yet he has not performed at the MLB level. A bunch of other guys are like that to. You have to look at mechanics, when do they take, when do they swing outside of the zone, what kind of plate discipline do they have, do they foul off pitches etc. While stats, especially things such as OBP and sabermetrics can help find low risk guys who might break out, when determining stars you have to all but disregard stats. This is why Scouts get payed so much to watch players. This is how the Front Office knew to trade for A.J. They knew his stuff was good, they knew about his fast ball control, his breaking ball. They knew he worked deep into games and would help alleviate pressure on the bullpen. They knew he was an overall healthy pitcher. They knew he pitched in a HR haven and that a lot of the balls that were HR’s in NY would be easily caught flieballs at PNC. They knew he had a veteran pressence that would help the younger players. And you know what? I think we would all agree he was a good sign, even though his stats said he would be awful. So stop obsessing over stats and look at some film to determine how good someone is. Thats how I know Cole will be a great starter while Taillon will likely be either a bust or a closer. I’ve seen them both pitch.


See chart below for comparison of Snider, Sands and Marte’s minor league stats. As I said in my last post, Sands best year was in 2010 when he was not playing in a hitter friendly ballpark. Except for OBP, all his stats are better than Snider and Marte’s. Sands is only 4 months older than Snider and only one year older than Marte.

Ave. BB% OBP% K% Slg% OPS
Travis Snider 0.308 10.67% 0.383 22.82% 0.528 0.911
Jerry Sands 0.289 11.84% 0.376 20.54% 0.562 0.938
Starling Marte 0.303 4.85% 0.361 20.39% 0.462 0.823

Attached article explains how he has not been given many major league opportunities, and until recently have been playing with his swing – probably causing some of his struggles in the majors.

Brian Bernard

My comment leans in the other direction from prospects, with the signing of Liriano, the Pirates have signed 3 of the top 50 MLB Free agents. Although not the uber elite types, it has been noted that the team doesn’t reach out for better players in the market and this year I think they’ve done that.
Along with building through the draft and taking risk moves like Josh Bell, and Mark Appel then supplementing the roster with good free agent talent like Martin, Grilli and Liriano. I think Neal is doing everything that any other GM would be capable of doing at this time.
I will be very interested to see his direction in the next few years when he begins to more agressively move prospects and existing players through trade. His record is really up and down, and I base that only on return value. A few good deals, then several others where you really have to wonder what he was thinking.
Overall I’m ready for ST to begin so we can see how this all shakes out.
Go Bucs!!!!!!!!


I agree. The Pirates can only do so much on the free agent market, they cant afford to spend 20 mil per year on someone. A contract like that could potentially bury an organization like the Pirates for a long time. As a result, they have to take fliers on these guys and try to buy low, hoping that they outperform their contract. Its a handicapped strategy, but the only one available for the Pirates.


Tim, of all the newer players that the Pirates will have available to them this season, the one I believe could have the greatest impact is Jerry Sands. (As recently as 2011 was considered the Dodgers 2nd best prospect.) Nearly all of his minor league stats are better than Marte’s – particularly his OPS (which is about 100 points higher than Marte’s), his BB% and ISO are significantly higher than Marte’s. Marte has a problem taking a walk which could be a big problem during extended exposure to major league pitching. This would also argue for putting Marte in the bottom half of the batting order (probably 6-7) rather than 1 or 2. Many have said that Sands minor league numbers are exaggerated since he has played in the PCL and in a home ballpark that is heavily favored toward hitters, but his best season was 2010 when he hit 35 homers in high A and AA and then was moved directly to the major leagues in 2011 skipping AAA altogether. Lastly, Travis Snider has had nearly 1000 ABs in the major and has showed very little promise of being much more than an average OF. While still young, he has probably shown enough already to know what we have – an average OF who will likely average .250 – .265 with 15-20 homers and other statistics that are pretty average as well. I guess what I am saying is that Sands has been greatly overlooked as a potential future star for the Pirates during this off-season. His star potential is as great as any young player not named McCutcheon and Alvarez.

Ian Rothermund

I think your analysis of Sands is a little off base. I agree that he has some potential to step up at the major league level. However, what you’re ignoring is the fact that he’s slightly older than Snider, and played in a hitter friendly league last year. Also, Snider would and has put up similar numbers in AAA, and maybe in not such a hitter friendly league. Factor that in with his playing through a hammy injury and being rushed nearly his entire career, and it’s not completely surprising that he’s under performed and not attained a higher level of play. That being said, once Spring Training games start, everyone not named McCutchen or Marte should have an equal shot at grabbing that right field job. What’s nice is that the Pirates actually have multiple players with potential in their areas of weakness, whereas in the past, you knew there were going to be losers in that position no matter what they did all year. Considering the level of assumed play the Bucs will get from McCutchen and Marte, to have a guy put up even slightly below average offensive numbers would be a plus. If between Sands, Snider, and Tabata; they get a .260 AVG and 20 HRs, that would be a very successful year I think.


well done by the buccos front office. liriano could end up a stud, in which case he’ll earn his money…otherwise not much gambled here.


Agreed–the way this deal is structured, there’s not a whole lot more risk in it than the Sanchez deal, and Liriano’s upside is more than Sanchez’


An excellent business deal providing the maximum protection for the Pirate Baseball Club. It has been 8 weeks since the accident, so if he spent that much time in a cast on his non-throwing arm, I cannot see any type of rehab problem. That will not be the arm stressed by throwing the baseball, and now that he has passed the physical, he should be able to start throwing and take his time getting into pitching shape. Probably close to 2 months before he takes the mound at the beginning of April.


This is great insurance for the Pirates. I just hope Liriano doesn’t come back too early in an attempt to accrue these incentives and end up hurting himself and the team.

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