Pirates to Sign Radhames Liz to a Big League Deal

By now the Pittsburgh Pirates are the only people who haven’t said that Radhames Liz is signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s not a surprise, since the Pirates rarely comment on a move until it is finalized, with the physical complete, and the ink dry on the paper.

At the start of the week, we heard reports out of Korea and the Dominican Republic, saying the Pirates had agreed to a two-year, $3 M deal with Liz. Yesterday, Liz’s Dominican Winter League team (which is managed by Dean Treanor, who manages the Indianapolis Indians) announced the signing. Today, it’s going national, with Jayson Stark reporting the deal.

Stark notes that it’s a big league deal, which answers the question about whether that two-year deal is a big league deal, or some kind of unique minor league contract. I think that deal also guarantees Liz a spot in the bullpen. He’s an extremely hard thrower, and all of the reports on him this off-season are positive. The Pirates have had plenty of success finding reclamation projects and hidden gems. We’re about to see if Liz is the next in line.

  • Good low risk high reward signing

  • Low risk high reward. Nice pick up

  • Wilbert Matthews
    November 22, 2014 9:32 am

    Why dont anyof the stories have pictures of this guy?

    • Damn Wilbert, if I would have known where he was going to wind up, I would have taken a picture of him in his New Britain uniform. I was about 10′ away from him. I thought I did see one, maybe on BD ( ? ), in an Orioles uni.

    • here he is

  • I saw him pitch this past year in Altoona Tim, and he was throwing just as hard as the last time I saw him pitch for Bowie in 2007. Mid ‘ 90’s with a good breaking ball that looked like a hard slider, and an occasional changeup. The Curve hitters were completely over matched, which in all fairness, they should have been. He also showed good control and command that evening, which I heard he had problems with later on in AAA.

    • leo: Thank you, that tells me what I needed to know. And, I am amazed at the fact that I am the 37th post on a subject about the Pirates signing Radhames Liz!

  • Monsoon Harvard
    November 21, 2014 5:21 pm

    I like this, considering all of the information coming from his time in Korea. Seems to have become quite a pitcher since leaving the country.

    Could turn out very well for the Pirates, maybe even to the tune of the Bucs needing to sign him to an extension before he re-establishes himself too well, to avoid another Francisco Liriano scenario.

  • If Searage and Benedict were here 15 years ago, I wonder if they would’ve taken a flier on Ila Borders for a LOOGY 🙂

  • Stark says he has a vicious curve but he threw the slider in 2007-09 in the mlb. Wasn’t a particularly hard slider at 81.8 mph so I am guessing maybe he had a slurvy thing back then that he has tightened up. Or he has scrapped what he had before for something better and refined. He averaged 93.8mph in 110 ip with absolutely no control so I am guessing with better control and coming out of the pen he has substantially more velocity than that.

  • Marginal cost of acquisition is only $1m/yr, and the bar for being a good middle reliever is relatively low. Very little risk involved here.

    Reports on his curveball are most encouraging of all. Hard throwing relievers with poor command and only one plus pitch generally aren’t good (Bryan Morris). Hard throwing relievers with poor command and two plus pitches can often be successful (Joel Hanrahan).

    • completely agree….he’ll either be Jon Sanchez, Edinson Volquez or something in between. And, at that price, we can afford to gamble.

      I heard quite a few teams were after him. Maybe EV or Frankie put in a good word? Or maybe our history with reclamations was the deciding factor?

  • William Wallace
    November 21, 2014 11:59 am

    Maybe I missed it but is he a righty, lefty or in between?

    • Wouldn’t it be something if there was a pitcher who was a righty or a lefty depending on who was at the plate?

      • There is, Pat Vendetti. He graduated from Creighton University, was in the Yankees system for awhile and can throw with either hand. Has a special glove with 2 thumb holes so he can switch hands with different batters. They actually had to make a rule on what happens when Vendetti goes up against a switch hitter i.e who has to commit first. Worth a google to see Pat throw.

        • Venditte’s problem is that he really doesn’t have a Major League fastball Lukas. Having seen him a couple of times, he can be fun to watch though

          • I live about half an hour of Omaha, NE (where Creighton is located) so i’ve seen him since he was a freshmen. Doesnt have ML stuff, and its rather surprising he is where he is. Doesnt throw hard at all and his secondary stuff is good not great. Interesting to talk to guy though.

            • Obviously you know what I mean Lukas.I have sort of followed him since I first saw him in Tampa when he was in the Yankee’s MiLB camp. It is too bad that he doesn’t have the MLB arm ( s ? ) he is quite a story.

    • In between…lol. 🙂

    • Righty.

  • Any chance that he gets a shot at a rotation spot?

    • From the MLB Trade Rumors site it sounds like he started in Korea in 2012 (just over 200 innings) but worked as a reliever last year. Most likely he will be in the bullpen. Or, maybe he will end up being the swing guy in the pen.

    • $3 million for 2 years for a guy with virtually no MLB history (and what he does have is awful) suggests to me he’s at least the long guy/spot starter, and competing for the rotation in ST. I just don’t see Neal spending that kind of money on this type of guy specifically for the pen.

      • He paid Vin Mazzaro a million bucks last year to be a middle reliever, in Indianapolis.

        I certainly hope Huntington has learned enough to not pinch such small pennies with a $90m payroll.

        • In a jam for depth and never ended up having to use it.

        • I’ll give you that. Might’ve only been $950K though 😉

          It was odd that they signed him to that # specifically to avoid arb then did nothing with him. Very unlike Neal.

          • I’d like to believe Huntington bought the bullets and allowed the field staff to decide which ones to fire. But you’re certainly correct, out of the ordinary.

    • Monsoon Harvard
      November 21, 2014 9:11 pm

      He started in Korea. I think he is seen as a starter by Huntington. I expect him to be in the rotation.

      • Oh you have talked to NH? What is his favorite color? I’ll be you my current savings vs. yours that he never starts for PIT. As is, we have 3 set starters and a few that are far more ready to go than this guy.

  • Pitchers that throw hard and have more than one pitch are always welcome, IMO the pitcher has a lot to do with his success, but so does Hurdle, if he does not recognize who this guy matches up well against and who he doesn’t match up well against he could be another Morris, also is he going to have to follow the mold and throw 2 or more innings or could he be used to get out of a jam?

  • Am I the only one excited about this pickup..

    • Don’t know whether to be excited or not. There really isn’t much history there. Certainly the reports on his stuff are impressive and Dean Trainer knows what a MLB pitcher looks like. But if Liz can produce next year what Ed Volquez did last year not only is it super exciting, it’s a Sports Illustrated cover story.

      • we need to find out if Liz is a millionaire dollar arm with a penny for a brain. The Bucs must think he has a lot of potential to sign him for this much, they expect him to make the team. Hopefully he comes in and does a great job. Another Grilli would be fantastic.

    • I’m excited. We had so many failures in the bullpen last season, all I wanted was to change things up. With Wilson and Gomez gone, and Lincoln coming back and this guy, seems like we are headed in that direction.

      • I’m certainly more excited over what Liz might do than what Lincoln might do.

        • So was John Wilkes Booth, as I remember.

        • I’m just excited that we might not have to watch the same names trudging out to the mound in the 6th inning with a 1-run lead and start off their first batter by throwing ball 1, ball 2, ball 3…

          Even if I don’t see different results, at least give me some different names so I can have a little hope for a few weeks.

          Mostly what we need are 5 starters who can give us 7 solid innings every game and hand it to Watson and Melancon. And 8 innings would be even better.

    • I wouldn’t go as far as “excited”, but it’s pretty much squat for risk with the potential for a big-time payoff. It’s certainly more enchanting than getting another all-glove no-bat utility infielder on waivers.

    • No way.. Whats not to like if the reports are true and his arm is so live…

    • I expect the bullpen to be better than last year, but not as good as the year prior. I really wonder if Pimentel fits on this team any longer. They need a new version of Jeff Karstens.

    • Wilbert Matthews
      November 22, 2014 9:35 am

      I am as well. Seems like a low risk high reward project