First Pitch: How Do the Pirates Look if Francisco Liriano Accepts the Qualifying Offer?

The Pittsburgh Pirates made the right moves today. They not only extended a qualifying offer to Russell Martin, but also made the same offer to Francisco Liriano. Both players will have a week to accept or decline their offers. If they decline and sign elsewhere, then the Pirates would get two draft picks as compensation. If they both accept, the Pirates would see their current payroll expand by $30.6 M.

I think there’s zero chance that Martin accepts. He’s looking at a multi-year deal that will probably end up around $15 M per season. There would be no reason for him to accept a one year deal at the same rate. As for Liriano, I think he will decline the offer as well. But that doesn’t seem to be the consensus opinion. The narrative today was that Liriano was one of three players who could accept an offer, with the other two being David Robertson of the Yankees and Michael Cuddyer of the Rockies.

In Liriano’s case, the argument is that he would make more per year with the qualifying offer, and that his inconsistent play might prevent him from getting a multi-year deal on the open market, especially when a draft pick is attached. I disagree with both angles. Liriano might get more per year with a qualifying offer, but it’s all about guaranteed money. If he can get $35-40 M guaranteed over three years, then I think he’ll take that. This is where the inconsistent play enters the equation. There is no guarantee that Liriano gets another big offer next year. This might be his one shot at a long-term payday. And based on what pitchers received last year, I don’t think the qualifying offer will prevent Liriano from getting paid.

But let’s play along with this and think about what would happen to the Pirates if Liriano accepts the offer. Martin isn’t going to be accepting his offer, which means the Pirates are left with two scenarios.

What Happens If the Pirates Bring Back Martin?

I don’t think Liriano accepting a qualifying offer would prevent the Pirates from pursuing Martin. If they actually could sign him, I think it would cost around $15 M per year. This means that Liriano and Martin would take the current payroll projection to around $95 M, although I’d expect $4-5 M to come off that figure if the team trades one of Pedro Alvarez or Ike Davis. I don’t know what the overall budget would be, but the Pirates would almost certainly need one more pitcher. They might have to be limited to a cheap reclamation project with a high upside in this case.

What Happens if Martin Signs Elsewhere?

Travis Sawchik had an interesting idea if Martin signs elsewhere: go with all defense behind the plate and use the extra money to upgrade the offense at first base. If Liriano accepted the qualifying offer, that would put the projected payroll around $80 M. A second defensive catcher to pair with Chris Stewart (Travis suggests David Ross) would probably cost $1 M. If the Pirates upgraded at first base, they could probably part with Pedro Alvarez, Ike Davis, and Gaby Sanchez. That would reduce the payroll by a projected $12.6 M, taking it down to about $68.5 M.

This gives plenty of room to not only add a free agent first baseman like Adam LaRoche, but also to add a quality starting pitcher or a top reclamation project to pair with Liriano and fill the final opening in the rotation.

My Preferred Scenario

I think the Pirates would be better off if Liriano declined the offer and signed elsewhere. They’ve shown a good ability to find quality starting pitching for well below market rate, and Liriano is just one example of that. If Liriano declines, then they’ve got a lot of money to go after Martin, plus money to add a few reclamation starters and a first baseman.

I’m assuming Martin still costs $15 M here, which puts the payroll at $80 M. Then you’d subtract the $12.6 M for the current first base options, and add $10 M for someone like LaRoche. That puts the payroll at around $77.5 M. This would give them plenty of room to add two quality reclamation projects, such as Justin Masterson and Brandon Morrow.

In other words, for the price of Liriano, they could potentially have the next two Liriano’s.

We’re a week away from finding out what will happen with Liriano and Martin. MLB free agency began at midnight, but things won’t really kick off until the qualifying offer situations are determined.

Links and Notes

**Pre-Order the 2015 Prospect Guide

**AFL: News and Notes For Glasnow, Bell and Others

**Pirates Extend Qualifying Offers to Russell Martin and Francisco Liriano

**Pirates Outright Chase d’Arnaud, John Axford and Jeanmar Gomez

**Winter League: Big Hits From Jose Osuna and Willy Garcia

  • The Sporting News just came out with their worst defender awards – they call it the Anti-Gold Glove award, and while I am not assuming by any means that their rankings are necessarily definitive, they are certainly timely and interesting concerning what they say about Ike Davis and Adam LaRoche (they rank, accurately or not, Davis and LaRoche as the worst first basemen defenders in MLB):

    “Ike Davis, Pirates, UZR/150: minus-5.2

    Davis actually is tied with Adam LaRoche for worst UZR/150, but using DRS as a tiebreaker, it’s not close. LaRoche is at zero, while Davis is at minus-5. This is Davis’ career-worst UZR/150, and the third season in a row he has had a negative number in the category.”

    BTW, they have Martin as the best defensive catcher in MLB.

    • Lee Foo Young
      November 4, 2014 4:06 pm

      Greg…I read that yesterday. Pedro finished just behind Castellano at 3b. And Walker wasn’t too far from Altuve at 2b. Makes you wonder how that infield got anybody out in 2014.

      • I’m guessing Pedro’s rating was hurt by his MLB leading throwing error rate at 3d base (if it wasn’t, there is something wrong with the evaluation procedure they use) which the Pirates have now addressed. Visually, Neil Walker appears to lack range at 2d. Notwithstanding his bad back but considering his ability to leave his feet and make plays, do you think NW should go to 3d with Harrison playing 2d? Harrison probably plays a better 3d base than 2d now and for that reason its not ideal to have to move him, but he seems to be an extremely versatile athlete who can learn and develop and it would be good to address a defensive shortcoming at 2d. Interested in your thoughts…

  • Tim, I am interested to see your take on the catcher from Arizone, Montero, and the thoughts they might trade him. I am all for signing russell, but what are the thoughts of the pirates getting in that discussion! Thanks!

  • Lee Foo Young
    November 4, 2014 2:02 pm

    I posted this on the PBC Asylum:

    Here are my ‘signing with the Bucs’ odds:

    Russ – 4.45 %
    Frankie – 51.2 %
    Edinson – 64.9%
    Barmes – 92.64 %

  • Lee Foo Young
    November 4, 2014 1:48 pm

    Here is the Hunter Strickland P2 article and reaction (at the time):

    The Pittsburgh Pirates have added Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge to the 40-man roster today. To make room, the team designated Hunter Strickland and Clint Robinson for assignment. Robinson was DFA’d to make room for Inge, while Strickland was DFA’d for Sanchez.

    The Pirates added Strickland to the 40-man this off-season, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft. Robinson was added in an off-season trade after being DFAd by the Royals. The Pirates now have ten days to trade, waive, or release either player. It seems most likely that they’ll try to pass each player through waivers.

    “My guess is that both sneak through waivers” and “My guess is that the damn Rangers will pick them up,”


    Just prior to this, Kristy had posted this:

    “Right-handed pitcher Hunter Strickland was promoted from High-A Bradenton to Double-A Altoona today. The 24-year-old appeared in nine games (10 starts) where he posted a 2.98 ERA. Strickland struck out 25 batters over 45.1 innings with the Marauders in 2012”

    (he wasn’t exactly lighting opposing batters up, that’s for sure)


    After the waiver claim, most seemed upset more at acquiring Inge than losing Strickland. Here is what John Dreker had to say that day:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if neither helped their new team, but Strickland has the better chance to be more valuable. Strickland seemed like an odd add to the 40-man anyway, so I didn’t think he would be picked up by anyone when they DFA’d him. He was set for relief work in AA, so no big loss, they have plenty of similar value players to him in AA/AAA

    John kind of summed it up for me.

  • When will we get to the point to not have to depend on a couple of reclamation projects every year to fill out a rotation? That strategy is not sustainable long term, as the odds of success are not good. It worked with Liriano and Volquez – yes, but I would not count on catching lightning in a bottle every year.

    I think Morrow still has the “stuff” to be a decent gamble if the price is right – I don’t think Masterson is a good option. I’d take Brett Anderson over Masterson.

    Are guys like Cumpton, Sadler, Sampson, and Kingham serious rotation contenders this Spring and will they get real shots?

    • It also worked with Worley and Burnett. That’s an 80% success rate! with only Jonathan Sanchez not panning out (and he was signed as a minor league free agent). I’m not even sure it’s a question of “have to” fill out the rotation with reclamation projects – this is an affirmative strategy, a market inefficiency that allows the Pirates to get #2 starter performance on a #4/5 starter budget. The Pirates just got 6 seasons of low-3ERA ball from Burnett, Liriano and Worley for about $32M. On the open market that’s worth $90-$110M. If you can do that, why would you pay market rate?

      As for the options this year, Masterson is the best bet to give you 30 starts. Assuming the knee is cleaned up, his velocity should return (the same knee issues took velo from Wandy). Anderson is nice and left handed but not a good bet to make more than 10 starts, which doesn’t even get you through May. I like Morrow too.

      • You cannot argue with their recent success, but I still think it is too much of a crap shoot to be a sustainable and successful long term strategy – their luck will eventually run out. I don’t see too many teams winning a world series with 2-3 such starters in their rotation, but maybe I overlooked someone recently?

        • I can see how this would be unsettling if you thought it was mostly luck, because indeed, luck does run out. But I think we’re getting a better sense that it’s likely not luck at all, but a comprehensive system that involves complementary pieces like pitching philosophy, mechanics, defensive alignment and personnel, playing to the home park, etc. The Pirates have a few guys at the top of their profession in Searage, Benedict and Dan Fox who are key contributors to the system. It won’t always work, but I’m inclined to believe they have hit on something that works more often than luck would suggest.

          You probably won’t find many WS teams with multiple reclamation projects among their starting 5 because the Pirates are more or less alone when it comes to having such a system.

        • Before abandoning the successful reclamation process, keep in mind that there are only 2 other ways of adding pitchers to their rotation. 1) Developing very good SP prospects, which they’re well on their way to doing with Taillon, Glasnow, Kingham, Sadler et al ready to join Cole or 2) pay full retail for FA SPs, which it could probably be proved to be more of a crap shoot than the reclamation process the Bucs use.

  • I would Liriano to come back because he is left handed. PNC is built to favor left handed pitchers and the team doesn’t have any left handed starters ready to move up. Jeff Locke is ok but a good rotation needs another one. I don’t want to take the chance of replacing Liriano (who is tough to hit) with a mediocre middle of road pitcher.

  • If you offer a player a QO? can you still work with a player to get a long term deal done if you wanted to? so while the pirates do offer a short term deal, could they try to negotiate a longer term deal like 2 yrs or is that against the rules?

    • Absolutely, yes. In fact, it’s quite possible that’s what the Yankees and Rockies are thinking in making QO’s for Robertson and Cuddyer.

  • The Pirates rotation is better with Liriano. Any team that could sign Liriano to a 1-year deal for $15.3 million would immediately do so. The Bucs should not shy away from retaining a solid starter for $15.3 million. And they should still have room to add another starter, especially with either Davis or Alvarez almost certain to be traded or non-tendered. Alvarez and Davis are essentially the same player, so it would be absurd to keep both.

  • Lee Foo Young
    November 4, 2014 9:07 am

    Tim…you wrote “If they both accept, the Pirates would see their current payroll expand by $30.6 M.”

    I think you would have to subtract what Martin and Liriano made this year to see the true expansion. I don’t think it would be $30.6M. It would be $30.6M minus what they were paid in 2014. Putting it at somewhere around $15 mil?

    • No, Tim is right. Both are free agents and have no salary commitments for 2015. Therefore it would be adding $15.3 million for each for a total of $30.6 M.

      • I think it’s the use of the term “current payroll” that’s causing the confusion.
        LFY is probably thinking of our “current payroll” as the figure we ended the 2014 season with. So in that way he’s right, both players accepting the QO would only inflate what we’re paying them by about $15m total.

        • Lee Foo Young
          November 4, 2014 2:05 pm

          Dean…thx….as you allude, both Tim and I are both probably right….depended on our ‘starting point’.

  • Trading Adam LaRoche at age 29 for peanuts only to turn around and drop eight figures on him as a 35 year old free agent is right up Littlefield’s alley.

    • Don’t know, Hunter Strickland may prove not to be “peanuts”…but with the Giants, instead. He did better in his September call-up, than he did in the playoffs, but there’s a possibility that he becomes the Giants closer sometime in the future.

      • Was trying to remember why the Pirates got rid of Strickland. Had to look it up. Oh boy…it was to add Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge to the 40-man!!!

        • Lee Foo Young
          November 4, 2014 8:51 am

          to be fair he was and had been injured, so they thought they could sneak him through.

          Also, I don’t remember you crying about his release. 🙂 🙂

          • It was a weird decision. They decided to protect him from the Rule 5 draft in November, rather than risking him in the Rule 5 draft. Then they waived him a few months later, which makes it easier for another team to add him, since a waiver claim allows him to be sent to the minors. And the injury history was there for either decision, although he came back the year before and was hitting mid-90s with his fastball (which was the reason it made sense to protect him in the first place).

            • Lee Foo Young
              November 4, 2014 9:10 am

              but, like I said Tim, it didn’t even register here or on the PBC Asylum. Nobody cried.

              • What’s your point? That since you don’t remember anyone making a big stink about it before, it would be results-oriented to mention it now?
                For the guys in the front office, this is their full-time job. For posters, it’s a hobby, to which limited time and energy are devoted to. Regardless of how much attention was paid to Strickland at the time, the decision-making remains odd.

                • Lee Foo Young
                  November 4, 2014 1:36 pm

                  Dean…that is my point….he was a fringe reliever. I didn’t find the move ‘odd’ at all. He was injured. You win some, you lose some when it comes to these fringe players. You can’t keep everyone.

                  I’m not sure why anyone is griping about his being let go. Much ado about nothing. However, if you’re upset about it, it is a free country.

                  • Sorry, if I caused any problems there!! I certainly wasn’t upset at the time about the Strickland move, but when I saw him in the playoffs this year, I was thinking “oh yeah, he’s still around!” Then I went back and looked at his minor league numbers after his surgery, which seem to be much better than his numbers prior to surgery. Could be that he’s much better. Or it could be that he’s repeated these levels so many times!

                    I just thought it would be interesting if the Pirates had acquired a future MLB closer in the LaRoche deal without the Pirates gaining anything from it!! As you said, you win some and you lose some.

          • Haha!! Too true!

      • He had reconstructive elbow surgery shortly after joining the Giants, and had a great 7 innings followed by 8 innings where he gave up 6 home runs, I think it is a little premature to talk about being a projected closer yet, lots of guys throw hard. If he does, the larger takeaway is, don’t spend payroll on relievers.

        • It’s not ME saying that he’s a possible closer, it’s Santiago Casilla and the SFGate. After Strickland got his first save this year, Casilla said “He’s taking my job, easy 99 (mph). Bang, bang, bang.”

          Then the SFGate writer said this: “Casilla might not realize how prescient he could be. Although Casilla is the closer now and should be in 2015, Strickland looks like the heir apparent, with a fastball that approaches 100 mph, a 90-mph slider, pinpoint control and that closer’s attitude.”

          • Was just a general comment. I mean great he throws hard, Ernesto Frieri, John, Axford, and another former Pirate farm hand the Giants have Erik Cordier throws hard. A little more is needed than that, especially when the early returns suggest that his fastball might lack some deception. He could certainly still become a very good closer, late inning guy for a couple years, good relief pitching came come out of nowhere.

            • Yeah, fair enough. I’m certainly not trying to jump on some kind of Hunter Strickland bandwagon. I had completely forgotten about him until he showed up in the playoffs for the Giants.

              I was merely responding to NMR saying that LaRoche was traded for “peanuts” when, there’s a possibility that Strickland turns into something (I guess, even Argenis Diaz could still have a breakthrough!!). I just thought, wouldn’t it be ironic if the Pirates had traded LaRoche for a guy that could have the possibility of having been their future closer? Only to have him slip away for nothing (actually– to add 2 terrible players to the roster in Jonathan Sanchez and Brandon Inge!!)

              That, plus the Rule 5/DFA so close to each other that was so unusual.

    • I don’t think it’s that simple. Laroche is so much better than… say… Jeromy Burnitz.

    • LaRoche is still productive. A Littlefield move would be to add someone who is clearly at the end of his career, while blocking young talent from proving themselves. Two examples: signing Joe Randa and blocking Freddy Sanchez, and signing Jeromy Burnitz and blocking Nate McLouth.

      • Lee Foo Young
        November 4, 2014 9:10 am

        some would say that signing Adam (who I liked as a Pirate) would be blocking Lambo. 🙂 🙂 🙂

        • Not really. Lambo doesn’t really have a place to play. BUT if you bring LaRoche here, and get rid of the other 3, it also makes more room on the bench for a guy to spell RF and 1st. that would be Lambo’s job to get. He’s not going to get a starting job on this club. Not his fault but who you going to sit ?

      • LaRoche has been a replacement-level player in three of his last five seasons.

        He MAY still be a productive player, sure. But the chances he’s even a one-win improvement over what the team already has isn’t great. I don’t see any reason to commit that money to an aging player.

        • And it’s not like Alvarez, Davis, or Lambo don’t have talent, either.

          • yeah, I hate to beat a dead horse but I have to say it again. Part ways with the 3 headed chasm at 1b and bring up Lambo. Use the extra funds to make a serious run at Martin. If that doesn’t work perhaps look towards pitching or a laroche type fill in.

            • Projections on Lambo have him hitting .253/.307/.431 with a 107 wRC+ and .1 WAR. Its basically the same as Ike Davis in terms of WAR and wRC+. Its really not that crazy to think a scenario of Martin coming back and forcing us to rely on Lambo as the main guy would cause the offense to take a step backwards. Martin regresses closer to his career average on offense and Lambo isnt a worldbeater but a replacement level 1Bmen. It’d be a 4-5 year contract on Martin (probably bad in the last years) and we dont upgrade 1B. Meh

  • Scott Kliesen
    November 4, 2014 7:13 am

    I believe next year’s Pirates team would be better w Liriano and a bargain basement reclamation project, than it would be w Masterson and Morriw.

    Liriano fits PNC perfectly. He is a tough lefty, which is kind of important to the success of good teams (see SF Giants). And he is in his pitching prime. I say if all it takes is 3/$36mm, do it!

    • It’s just an opinion, but i’d prefer McCarthy over liriano if all else is equal.. if morrow comes in the package all the better.. masterson is too costly..

      • Scott Kliesen
        November 4, 2014 8:39 am

        I admit when Liriano can’t get his fastball over the plate, he’s very frustrating to watch. But when he’s locating it, he’s nearly unhittable.

        To me, it just makes more sense to have a top line LH SP on the roster.

      • Lee Foo Young
        November 4, 2014 8:52 am

        Rickster…I think it is McCarthy who is going to be expensive.

        • I’m starting to come around to that as well.. I’m thinking it’s why they extended liriano the qo.. 15m seems like a lot for him but it’s likely closer to market and as scott eludes to, he’s a good fit for our team

  • Regardless of the outcome of Liriano’s QO, I’m continuing to guess that the Pirates will try to save money by going with Pedro full time at first, and trading/parting ways with G Sanchez and Ike Davis with various back up plans as possibilities if Pedro doesn’t work out. I would be surprised if the Pirates went after a relatively high priced free agent like LaRoche, who will be 35 in a couple of days, involving a multi-year deal when there was an approximately one-half cheaper alternative readily available.

    • Id bet money they at least roster a player that can play 1B and hit LHP well that is under 4 million in salary. Even in a best case scenario Pedro doesnt hit LHP well and the FO has never been shy about been content with a platoon if the LHH side is cheap.

      • I understand what you are saying and that certainly could happen, on the other hand, I’m thinking that they were content to start Pedro for years at third base with no platoon and its cheaper to pay one player instead of two. If need be, Tony Sanchez may be the first choice for a right handed hitter if they change their historic usage of Pedro as an exclusive starter.

        • Personally, I’d be ok’ish just giving Pedro the job. Since 2011, the 1B platoon has given us OPS’s of .709/.693/.768/.689
          Aside from 2011, Pedro has outhit the platoon every year. There’s no such thing as perfect platoon usage – it always ends up about 30 points or so below the average of the platoon partners’ combined splits (and seeing Gaby vs. a right hander in the 9th because Ike got pulled in the 7th sucks.) By all means, get a righty that can play first (and ideally some third too), rest Pedro on some days against lefties, but we don’t need a hard platoon – that money could be spent elsewhere. This is the NL Central – there’s hardly any left handed starting pitchers anyway.

          • As I mentioned in another post, I think most of us would be happy if Pedro got back to his 2013 (or 2012) full time numbers playing first base except, overall, he would be a substantially better player since he wouldn’t be committing all those throwing errors playing third. Before the All Star game I posted here that the “obvious move” was to try Pedro at first and Harrison at third. BTW, the Sporting News just came out with their worst defender awards – they call it the Anti-Gold Glove award, and while I am not assuming by any means that their rankings are necessarily definitive, they are certainly timely and interesting concerning this discussion based on what they say about Ike Davis and Adam LaRoche (they rank, accurately or not, Davis and LaRoche as the worst first basemen defenders in MLB):

            “UZR/150: minus-5.2

            Davis actually is tied with Adam LaRoche for worst UZR/150, but using DRS as a tiebreaker, it’s not close. LaRoche is at zero, while Davis is at minus-5. This is Davis’ career-worst UZR/150, and the third season in a row he has had a negative number in the category.”
            BTW, they have Martin as the best defensive catcher in MLB.

    • Completely agree. No sense i bringing in a mediocre old 1B (Laroche) or someone who needs platooned (Lind) at huge expense when you have an inexpensive full time player with a glove that should play well at 1st and a world of potential. Yes, that would be Pedro. I would rather have Lambo at 1B on the depth chart so we can have his bat to PH than a platoon righty that I never want to play (Gaby).

      Alvarez blossoms at 1B is the best case scenario so why not just do it.

      • I don’t see how you can say Pedro will be good at 1st. There’s nothing to base that on whatsoever. And if you get rid off all 3 1st basemen and bring in LaRoche at $10 million Your actually saving money based on projected ARB amounts. And LaRoche had better offensive numbers at 1st than anyone playing there for the Pirates. Pedro has had 4 years to work out, he didn’t, time to move on. Experiment time is over.

  • Why not improve defense at third base and let Harrison continue roving?

    • Scott Kliesen
      November 4, 2014 7:00 am

      You do realize Harrison was one of best defensive 3B in league last year?

      • what stats do you base this on?

        defense at third base and 1st half bullpen were the reason we didn’t win 100 games last year

        • You have to remember, Many of the 3B errors were on Alvarez and his throws to 1B. Harrison was probably average, but still made many less errors than Pedro at 3B.

        • Scott Kliesen
          November 5, 2014 7:19 am

          I think you may have Harrison and Alvarez confused. Alvarez was an unmitigated disaster at 3B this season, but once Harrison took over there full-time, he was superb. You can look up his UZR as 3B to see for yourself.

      • I think jhay’s glove at third was great. Was that a surprise to most or just me not knowing he could play 3b at that level

        • Ian Rothermund
          November 4, 2014 11:22 pm

          That’s what he came up as, I thought. His drawback was always his bat. Before this year, it’s not like he was making a strong argument for consistently being in the lineup in any capacity. He’s always been athletic and willing to go all out, but when you hit .230 with no power, no one cares.

  • There is no original thought. Travis Sawchik stole that idea from me 🙂 And I stole it from someone else, probably Lukas, whom I think first said “most catchers are around 2 WAR, but with no offense” or something similar, several weeks ago.

    Regardless which of the two they sign (or neither), I don’t think LaRoche is the answer at 1b. I still think you move Walker there and get either a top 2b or 3b, with Harrison playing the other position. I’d target a trade for Zobrist, Kinsler, Howie Kendrick or Freddie Freeman (or sign Headley as a FA) and adjust the rest of the IF accordingly.

    • Only Kendrick is possibly available via trade and why would you want him?

      • Wow. Why the name calling?

      • I can’t figure out if you’re an MLB GM who’s called every team, or perhaps God himself since you seem to know all that is and isn’t possible.

        Anybody is tradeable. The question is identifying the right offer at the right time and working quickly. See Fister, Doug.

    • Agree wholeheartedly with Neil Walker at 1B, but Alen Hanson is the future at one of the MI positions. He was moved to 2B at mid-season at AA and played there for a few games at AAA. I have to think he will come into ST with a lot of reps over the Winter at 2B in the Dominican Winter League in addition to workouts at Pirates City in the DR. Hanson, Gregory Polanco, and Starling Marte are the near future positional youth for this franchise with Josh Bell, Austin Meadows, and Reese McGuire closing fast. Toss in Diaz and a raft of strong young pitching, and the Pirates will continue to challenge and be competitive for many years to come.

    • Walker sure isn’t the answer at first. He’s much, much more valuable playing second. LaRoche isn’t either, he’s remarkably consistent in that he just won’t hit at the start of the season, and those games count too. The danger in free agency is pursuing guys who just aren’t worth the money. If they can get someone worthwhile, go for it. If not, don’t rearrange the roster. Go with Pedro. The less he has to throw, the better.

      • Two of the last three years Laroche has crushed in April. The biggest issue with him is injuries. When he is healthy he is good. I think the Pirates interest will be based on his back holding up. Mitch Moreland will be available as well and the Pirates had interest in him a few years ago. I doubt he would cost them much at all. It seems when the Bucs have interest in someone that interest never fades no matter how bad they perform.

  • Thanks tim.. not that I really disagree on the qo for liriano assuming the likelihood he doesn’t sign.. I just prefer to give offers to players when your best outcome is they actually sign.. just seems it’s risky business hoping he doesn’t

    • What is the risk if he signs? Assuming he doesn’t slip in the tub again, he sustains good trade value. The key to all of these moves is the timing. If we add a couple of cheap pitchers and they are performing well in spring training, then we move Liriano and his salary. If the reclamations bomb, we keep him through at least the trade deadline. Better than going into the offseason with Cole, Worley, and ?, ?, ?.

      • As tim said.. for the price of one liriano they could potentially have the next two lirianos.. given the inherent risk in the actual liriano, i’ll take two please

        • I don’t think you get two Lirianos for $12 million. And not if Masterson is one of those as he’ll eat up most of that on his own.

          • Ya.. that’s what I’m starting to think as well.. maybe the fo doesn’t see much chance to sign rec projects and decided liriano is the best way to go.. maybe an overspend, but a warm body at least.. piles of extra cash doesn’t win games

        • you really think they will turn two reclaims into #2 starters? that is a reach.

          • I think they could.. I’m starting to think maybe they’re not out there to do so though

          • But honestly… with their current success rate on these guys…. is it THAT much of a reach?

        • We could also end up with two Sanchez’s who get cut by June as well. There no guarantee that every reclamation project turns into gold. If Liriano accepts he is once again playing for his next contract and thats a good thing.

          • it’s been a near-guarantee for the Pirates though.

          • I personally think if the project pitcher is someone the fo targets then he would be just as likely to succeed as frankie.. sanchez just never bought into making the adjustments necessary. . Lessons are learned from failure. . Sense the qo was given I also don’t believe there’s two pitchers out there that fit the mold and are likely signable

      • Cole, liriano, burnett, Volquez, worley.. bamm!!

        • The math on that comes to 103 million in payroll at the years start. Unlikely they go into the year at what would surely be near maximum payroll. Unless we see a serious spike in ticket prices.

          • My 20-game plan tickets are going up 41%. The serious spike in prices is there.

            • Yeah, until you actually compare that to the rest of baseball. Any Pirate fan who complains about ticket prices is a pretty ungrateful fan. Seriously, Pirate fans are spoiled in terms of average price and average increase in price per year. They could easily jack those prices up way more and be justified in saying “to remain competitive financially we must be competitive in the income we generate from ticket sales”.

              • Well then your comment of “Unless we see a serious spike in ticket prices.” made no sense at all, cause there is a serious spike in prices.