Pirates Officially Sign Radhames Liz, DFA Josh Lindblom

The Pittsburgh Pirates have officially announced the signing of right-handed pitch Radhames Liz to a one-year deal. The 40-man roster was full with the signing of Francisco Liriano earlier, so recently acquired Josh Lindblom was designated for assignment.

We have heard about the signing of Liz for approximately two weeks now. The Pirates were scouting him in the Dominican, where he was playing winter ball. He had interest from 11 different clubs from three different countries. The deal was originally announced as a two-year deal, but the Pirates announced on Friday that it was for one year. Liz was dominating in winter ball, where Rene Gayo scouted his last start and had him throwing his fastball consistently 95-96 MPH. He has thrown harder in the past and assuming the Pirates use him in a relief role, he should add a few ticks to those numbers. Liz wanted to return to winter ball, but the Pirates shut him down for the winter last week.

Lindblom was just claimed from the Athletics on Monday. The Pirates obviously hope that he is able to sneak through waivers, so they can assign him to AAA Indianapolis.

UPDATE 9:27 PM: As noted by Tim Williams on Twitter, Liz only has 0.133 days of service time in the majors, so the Pirates should control him for the next six years. That would likely explain why he signed a one-year deal. Neal Huntington did mention that the delay did involve some wording in the contract, so it’s possible this isn’t just a standard case where he would be stuck with the team for the next six years until he reaches free agency.

  • TheSharkTankisNasty
    December 13, 2014 3:51 pm

    If he really is under team control for the next 6 years this could be a great deal.

  • From what I could gather he seemed a pretty good flame throwing type closer in the KBO, although very erratic with bad control. Wasn’t too liked by opposing players cause he hit quite a few of em and showed no remorse.
    Also had a mini controversy when he left. Apparently he promised in a verbal way to resign with his team, the LG Twins, but signed with Pittsburgh at the last moment. Fans here seemed pretty raged/betrayed.
    Just my 2 cents here from Seoul

    • TheSharkTankisNasty
      December 13, 2014 3:50 pm

      “wasn’t too liked by opposing players cause he hit quite a few of em and showed no remorse.”

      The rest of the NL Central will LOVE him then.

  • Monsoon Harvard
    December 13, 2014 12:04 am

    Hopefully they can hang on to Lindblom. I think Radhames Liz will somehow win the 5th starter job, or get himself into the rotation at some point.

  • I’d rather have Buddy Borden. 😅😅😅

  • How do you pronounce his first name? Is it Rod-HAHM-is?

  • Tim just tweeted that he “realized” Liz has 6 years of control… Think I may have tipped him off on that! Likely the reason for only needing the one year deal at this point.

    • Yeah, Wilbur’s player page has Liz listed for only 0.132 years of service time. Obviously, you need 3 years to qualify for salary arbitration (except for the Super 2 stuff) and 6 years before you can become a free agent.

      However, he has already been granted free agency, so I assume he becomes a free agent again after the season.

      So, the Pirates don’t really have any “years of control” on Liz (except this year).

      • This is one of those things that pushes the knowledge of baseball contracts to the brink!

        Liz was not drafted by the Orioles, so I guess he was not bound to them by draft rules.

        He used up all of his options with Baltimore.

        Has already been waived and claimed.

        Has already signed a contract as a minor league free agent.

        And has now signed a major league contract as a free agent.

        And, I believe, he has accrued enough minor league time, that he could always become a minor league free agent (if he ended up in the minors again.)

        All without a full year of service time.

        Soooooo, if I understand it correctly. He can’t be sent to the minors (out of options), unless he consents – otherwise, he could declare himself a free agent.

        He could accept an assignment to the minors, but would be a minor league free agent after the season.

        And he can’t be removed from the 40-man, otherwise he has to be granted free agency (or can that DFA him??)

        And he’s already been granted free agency once, so I assume he’s on a contract-to-contract basis. However, he’s not eligible for salary arbitration.

        I’m sure I have a bunch of this stuff wrong, but it’s a bit confusing!

        • Maybe he should have received option year in contract.

        • Players don’t become major league free agents until they reach six full years of service time. He was a minor league free agent signed to a major league contract.

          • Got it. So as long as they don’t try to return him to the minors (he’s out of options anyways), he can’t do anything but accept the Pirates league minimum contract offer next year.

            • With the amount of offers and interested teams that Liz had, I have my doubts that it is just a standard contract. There may be an option year or a side agreement of some sort for a second year. I’d be very surprised if he was just making minimum the next two years. For normal cases, the player would be signed for 2015 and be under control until the end of 2020.

              • Doesn’t this all seem odd? A player released from their team has more salary value control than a player who remains with their organization? I guess it’s the power of free agency, even minor league free agency. At least at the time of signing a contract, however, unless there’s multiple years, a player returns to only having to be tendered a contract until they qualify for arbitration.

                • He is definitely an odd case, but it has happened before with players leaving for Japan and returning better for the experience. Liz hasn’t played in the majors since 2009, but he has played what is considered Major League ball in Korea. If you think of it as a player that lost five possible years in the majors, then he doesn’t seem so lucky, although he spent 2010 and 2014 in the minors, then really took off this offseason. What happened to Liz doesn’t happen often.

                  • Yeah, I know it’s a strange case. But it seems to me to be odd that the union has a agreement with the league that benefits guys who are released (which would typically assume players who aren’t as good) over guys who are good enough to stay with their organization.

                    At least in terms of contract value leverage at the time of signing. It just seems strange to me that the league would empower a guy like Liz to make a lot more money during his first 3 years of service time, because he can negotiate any contract he wants, over, say, what Andrew McCutchen or Gregory Polanco makes during their 3 years before arbitration, strictly because they were TOO GOOD to be released!.

                    • I would think that is on the team that released a player that was good enough to earn more than league average, which the Blue Jays did by letting his go via minor league free agency this year. They had a chance to add him to the 40-man roster for league minimum and passed. Now that multiple teams wanted him, he is allowed to take the best offer, but unless there is some side agreement in the contract, he is bound to the Pirates for six years by the free agent rules.

                      Think of it as the Pirates releasing Gerrit Cole tomorrow. Do you think he would just sign with anyone for league minimum or offer his services to the highest bidder? I can guarantee that Cole would get more than 600K next year if he instantly became a free agent, but he would also be tied to whatever team signed him until he had six full years in.

  • Does he come with any years of control? Arbitration years?

  • Contract value? $1.5M?

    • No word yet. Check back later, or check the 2015 payroll page, which will be updated when we get the figure

      • John , If Liz were to meet best possible projection to break camp… say he is lights out … What will they do w him?
        If best case scenario comes to fruition , is he back of the rotation or back end bullpen ?

        • Best case scenario is as a starter because he was dominating in the starting role in the Dominican, throwing strikes with mid-90’s stuff. But the most likely scenario is long man in the bullpen.

          • Nothing wrong with the likely outcome.. It is a challenging role to fill effectively for the entirety of a season.