Pirates Want to Sign Both Liriano and Sanchez

The either/or question with Francisco Liriano and Jonathan Sanchez seems to have an answer. Tom Singer had an update on Twitter, saying Neal Huntington wants to sign both left-handers.

That’s obviously a good thing, since both players have some upside, and the addition of Sanchez would add more rotation depth. I compared the two players last night, pointing out a lot of their similarities.

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I would agree with Patrick, but a few things do not allow me to fully agree.

1. Yes, Cole would save service time. However, AJ Burnett was absolutely fantastic, an ace actually. He is aging.

2. Alvarez is figuring things out, IMO, and will want a big payday, especially with Boras.

These combine to make my point that I would prefer we were able to use Cole, if he is as advertised, while we still have some of these pieces. If we lose Burnett, Alvarez, etc., do we fill their spots with players that will still allow us to contend? As bad as Alvarez was last year, I could make an argument that we lost 10-12 more games last year if you replaced Burnett and Alvarez with Jeff Locke and, Josh Harrison, for example.

Next, this is an EXTREME stretch, so bear with me. Hypothetically, can we contend with say, the cardinals, in a 5 game series? I would argue that if a) Alvarez is a threat, b) JMAC is pitching well, C) The “knowns” are performing (McCutchen, Walker, etc.), and D) Gerrit Cole CAN have an impact, we can. I would argue that if all of those things happen, we could. That being said, If those things fall into place and there is an opportunity to use Cole (again, assuming his development elicits the opportunity), instead of another pitcher like Wandy or Liriano, I think we should do it. If we are in contention, do it.

I understand to a t where you are coming from, and I agree. I just feel like if we get a 70-60 baseball team, we should pull the trigger


as bad as Alvarez was, AT TIMES*


They can sign all the LHP they want. As long as it’s not Joe Saunders I’m happy. Bucks need a soft throwing Lefty like they need another OF…

Patrick Kelly

Have to disagree slightly with those that have said it would be ideal to finish the season with Cole in the rotation. My hope is that the group that is currently ahead of him a pitching well enough that Cole doesn’t need to come up until September. That would mean 2 positive things for the Bucs: 1) The team is having a good season and in contention/leading the division 2) Cole’s service time would be limited, perhaps buying another year of ML time.

If the options above him fail to produce, then by all means, bring him up in June/July. But if the team is performing and there are no holes in the rotation, I say keep him down. If he would be a significant upgrade to one of the rotation spots, he needs to be up. No reason to rush him if he isn’t ready or if it is unnecessary.


Don’t forget that Gerrit Cole is going to be making his debut by June or July.

Honestly everyone in the rotation has their own level of question marks outside of Wandy. Burnett and McDonald started off great but both took big drops in the 2nd half (J-Mac especially), so who is saying that version doesn’t show up this year. Liriano/Sanchez and Karstens are all health concerns. Locke’s last start was great and everything else looked good or bar. McPherson showed promise in his few starts and could easily be another teams #5 starter.

Basically what I’m getting at is if the entire rotation goes into a “Worst Case Scenario” type ordeal the Pirates have 9 (10 if you count Cole) viable options to start a baseball game.


Completely agree. It’s fantastic to see. Additionally, IMO, there are a couple of guys who could be pushed to the bullpen. You don’t want to do that if they have starting potential, but it would be better than not using them. In my mind, McPherson would be the prime candidate to make the move, and I although a stretch, the K/9 of Liriano, if he can at least tread water in terms of his control issues, would be another possibility. Finally, Karstens, somehow, has proven effective out of the bullpen in the past.


I don’t know that I would agree that they are making signings of SP’s because they have doubts about McDonald. My take is that between Sanchez, Lock, McPherson, and Liriano, the Pirates would hope to find a viable number 5. Where your thought comes in is that if JMac, Wandy, or Karstens, or even Burnett, blew up for some reason, we would have another option.

I just hope the Pirates don’t forget about Charlie Morton. If he returns to 2011 form, he could be an incredible addition in the 5 spot, or if an injury occurs. My ideal scenarion would be AJ, Jmac, Morton, Karstens, and Liriano/Sanchez at the end of the year. I just don’t have much confidence in Wandy, but I hope I am wrong.

Douglas Byrd

Wandy is not going anywhere, he’s a solid option after AJ. I agree that there is a possibility of JMAC imploding though I think that he is more likely to do very well. The Pirates have a lot of pitchers competing for the 4th and 5th spots and that’s a good thing! If we end up starting the season with:
AJ, Wandy, JMAC, Liriano and either Sanchez or Locke that’s great. Especially with Karstens really in the bullpen.



Kirk Lee

In any ideal scenario, you gotta include Cole. But yeah, this is great to hear. If we can assume that Burnett, JMac, and Wandy will be around all year, this would give us McPherson, Locke, Liriano, Sanchez, Karstens, Cole, and Morton as options at different points throughout the year to fill in the final two spots. That’s seven guys for two spots. Cole isn’t an option to start the year, but the rest all have a chance to be (with big question marks around Liriano and Morton). I’m almost concerned about whether they’ll be able to find room for Locke or McPherson to get a chance if they earn one, but those things tend to work themselves out between injuries and subpar performances. Great to think we might have this much pitching depth.


I could not agree any more with what you said. I omitted Cole, and realized it the second the posted that, haha. I agree that Locke and McPherson may be pushed out of a shot as well., and I like what I have seen from the Red stone rocket. It’s a great problem to have though!


I don’t think it’s being covered enough that the Pirates may also have their doubts with James McDonald thus adding another SP to provide even more depth. I just wish if they are going to keep adding rotation depth to trade Locke or McPherson for another bat, plenty of teams need and want young starting pitching.


“plenty of teams need and want young starting pitching”…

so do the Pirates.

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