By now it’s no secret that the Pittsburgh Pirates are prioritizing re-signing Francisco Liriano. They need a starting pitcher, and he seems to be the top choice. Robert Murray had an update today, saying the team appeared to be close to re-signing the lefty.

There have been a lot of issues with teenage reporters and #sources recently, but Murray was the first to report that Liriano would be turning down his qualifying offer, at a time when everyone thought he would be accepting the deal. So there could be something to this. Ken Rosenthal followed up by saying that the Pirates are working on re-signing Liriano, but no deal is done yet.

We’ll have more updates as they come. Rosenthal will be on MLB Network in ten minutes and might have an update then.

UPDATE 12:15 PM:  Rosenthal on MLB Network just commented on the Robert Murray tweet, saying  “I don’t know that the Pirates are close, but they are talking and this is something they want to do.” So Rosenthal confirms the interest that we already knew about, but doesn’t know of a deal being close at this point.

UPDATE 12:34 PM: Bill Brink says the two sides have been close for about a week.

UPDATE 1:10 PM: Murray is now reporting that the deal is done at 3/39 M. We will wait for more confirmation on this…

UPDATE 1:26 PM: Jon Heyman confirms a deal is in place.

UPDATE 1:38 PM: A lot of people were skeptical that Liriano would re-sign when the reports came out yesterday that the Pirates wouldn’t go beyond three years. It appears that no other team wanted to go beyond that point either, or else Liriano just really wanted to remain in Pittsburgh. This was about where I expected him to be in terms of his average annual value. The FanGraphs projections had him at three years and $36 M. My guess was that he would land a four year, $48-50 M deal, which would have been the same as similar free agent pitchers in recent years. He ended up with three years, but a million more per year than the estimates.

This is the largest free agent deal in Pirates history, surpassing Russell Martin’s two year, $17 M deal.

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85 COMMENTS

  1. Neal’s work on getting Frankie signed this afternoon looks especially great now that Lester has turned down the Giants.

  2. Where are all the posters who said we’d never give 3 years or anywhere near 35 million for frankie, it’s time to swallow your pride and admit you are wrong, shed the troll skin

    • Honestly, I thought that if the market demanded it, the Pirates should have been willing to give him four years. I thought 3 for $36 million would be a very reasonable offer for Liriano. Would have preferred 4 for $44 as opposed to 3 for $39, but the Pirates don’t like long pitching contracts.

  3. all due credit to Pgh FO & GMNH. this is/was the single best move to make this off-season, esp. now after Russ signed w/ toronto.

    if they also re-sign EV, then I would declare the off-season a buckwild success regardless of what follows…

    FL for 3 years. a risk, but also an insurance policy on all these studs coming up from the farm. Pgh has a long history of farm studs fizzling in the big city, and they never seem to have a back-up plan when the young ToR prospects turn out to be average… well the 2nd and 3rd yrs of FL’s deal are a $26m insurance policy against the likelihood of taillon, kingham, glasnow, et al. getting injured or otherwise failing to contribute to the big league rotation.

    i think that’s a smart insurance policy. and getting EV for 2 more years would be more insurance – and also bring the ’15 Pgh rotation up to playoff/WS caliber. such moves are like using a broomstick to hold open the McCutchen Window.

  4. I’d love to see them grab Neshek. He has the confounding delivery and is tough as nails. He would move the pen from good to potentially excellent. Neshek has outpitched his FIP every year of his career but one. Plus signing him would be a win because the Cards won’t have him anymore.

    • agreed, i don’t want to face this guy, we looked hopeless we might as well have been swinging a kendo stick

    • He’s really narrowed his platoon split in the last couple years. Prior to that, wasn’t good vs. LH batters. Depends what he is asking. I suspect he will get a ridiculous contract. I’m generally against overpaying for RP, but he would be a huge upgrade.

  5. A little surprising to me, as I thought some team would price Liriano beyond the Pirates budget – but, obviously that did not happen. So, good move….we now have Cole, Liriano, and Burnett as definite 3 starters – with Worley, Morton, Locke, and possibly Volquez competing to get the last 2 spots.

    I doubt if Morton has much trade value, but maybe packaged with a low to mid prospect we could get a solid reliever for the bullpen?

      • I’ve never been a Morton fan, although he pitches well at times. He is injury prone, nibbles too much, not a bulldog type of pitcher, never seems to go past 5-6 innings, and appears to have a very fragile psyche. Nothing personal, he may be a great guy – but as a pitcher, he is a loser. I think we can do a lot better. I’d rather have Locke, Worley, and/or Cumpton, etc. in the rotation.

        • “Fragile psyche” based on nothing but pure random insights into what makes a “tough” player. I hate that argument, because there is no real way to measure that and thus cant be proven right or wrong. It allows people to call a player a loser even though he was over a 1 WAR pitcher back to back seasons with an ERA under 4.

            • Yet another useless tool to measure either his A) mental stability or B) his usefulness as a SP. Not only would using career W/L be using wins and losses, but it also is saying that career history can be used to predict future performance. Sure, we could assume his 2010 performance has bearing on this year, or we could be realistic with this. If wins were a useful way of measuring a SP, we should go get Dan Haren because his 13 wins show he is decent.

      • Man , I will never get the Ground Chuck Haters… 1st off this last injury was unclear for about a week .. listed as a hip at 1st , cus the kid wouldn’t admit being hurt… I remember that post game cus my wife was watching… She asked why that kid was about to cry as he was telling media he wasnt hurt he just failed to preform… A week later I told her he was crying cus he knew his season was over.

        Not only consistent… but game 3 against the Cards 2 yrs ago, in the playoffs… Chuck is a winner… A guy we now know can handle the big stage if given the opportunity again.

      • Really, tell me why? What has he done, over an extended period or an entire season, to justify such praise? He pitches well in spurts, but seemingly falls apart easily and therefore susceptible to the big inning a lot. Never seems to go past 5-6 innings, because he nibbles so much. Not a fan…I think we can do better with Worley, Locke, Volquez (if he returns), etc.

        • Dude, you’re way off.. See my above statement… Chuck has one of the highest GO ratios in the game. He is very much a bulldog, I would’t let poise mask intensity, he wants the ball when it counts. Most important, he does not nibble. He keeps the ball down, which in itself has value. Combine that with he could make a living off one pitch that falls off the table , you have a guy who gets a great majority of his outs of pitches in the dirt , way out of the zone… Chuck is worth every penny.

          • I disagree with just about everything you said, except the fact that he is a ground ball pitcher.If he was as good as you claim, he would have a far higher success rate as a pitcher – in terms of W/L, ERA, etc. Yes, at times he does look unhittable – for 2-3 innings and then he either gives up a big inning or runs his pitch count up and has to be pulled. We will have to just disagree on this one.

        • In his total 26 games started, he went at least 6 innings 18 times. He went beyond beyond 6 innings 9 times. So, if Charlie pitches 3 times in a month you could have expected him to go 7 innings once, 6 innings once and then have an outing of maybe 5 innings. For that, you claimed he “never seems to go past 5-6 innings”. Never, as in 1 out of 3 starts overall if you take the high end and say he never gets beyond 6.

          He is, when actually using stats, a dependable middle rotation type arm. Gonna have a bad game here and there, but going to give you solid overall production throughout the course of a year.

          • I just did a quick run through his 26 starts last year, and I counted either 18 or 19 times he started and went 6 innings or less. So, I think that kind of supports my point. And, although I did not do this for every start, he often had pitch counts up around 100 or more by the 6th inning – which supports my contention he is a nibbler and does not attack batters, I sat through his start here in Baltimore last year, and he was painful to watch. Constantly going deep into counts because he could not put batters away by pitching around the strike zone. I think we can do better.

            • So you are now, as opposed to before when you said 5 or 6, operating under the notion that a SP that only throws 6 innings is lacking in some ways. If my SP goes 6 strong, thats a “decent” day, particularly for a middle rotation arm. He isnt a strikeout pitcher, so the notion that he cant put many guys away is justified, because he is a pitch to contact GB arm.

              We can do better, and we can pay roughly double the money to do so on the open market with a guy that likely brings a marginal statistical improvement. SF would have used wither Tim Hudson or Vogelsong as their 3rd man if Cain were healthy, are you really telling me you prefer their stats to Morton? Charlie has health issues, but when healthy would be a 3-4 man in 90% of rotations around the league.

  6. Count me as one who was skeptical, albeit not necessarily faulting the Pirates for not wanting to go four years. Feels nice to get one every once in a while!

  7. Great signing!!! I can’t wait until Cole, Liriano, and Tallion are in the same rotation!!! In position to move a starter if need for 1B at the deadline. Still hoping we look at 1B in trade.

    • I don’t know why we can’t package Pedro to a team that thinks he can play 3B or wants power (still a very in demand commodity right now) plus Kingham for a legitimate first baseman that can play without a platoon

      • If stockpiling all this pitching can’t get you a decent first baseman in a trade, then really……..what point is there in stockpiling

        • I wouldn’t mind taking a chance on Nick Swisher if he’s healthy. Does Gattis play 1B? Daniel Nava would be interesting. CJ Cron in a blockbuster? Now I’m just throwing a variety of names out there. I’m sure a trade could be made if 1b is viewed as a hole.

          • There aren’t a lot of great 1Bmen out there. I think Pedro, with a decent platoon, is our best option. Also, no reason to trade at his lowest point of value. At the very least, let him have a good first half and move him at the deadline, or next offseason. Or, keep him in his walk year and see him produce for his next contract.

  8. I’m really glad they have Liriano coming back, and I think the deal (from what has been reported so far) is reasonable from both sides. We need a lefty in the #1, 2 or 3 slot. That said, I don’t know that the starting pitching has improved enough to go farther. Cole should improve. We have to hope Burnett can be 2013 AJ, but he’ll probably be somewhere between his ’13 and ’14 performances. I don’t see a lot of upside in Liriano, though performing at his 2nd half levels probably rates him a low level #1. Worley, Morton, Locke, etc don’t have a lot of upside. So, where is the improvement needed to make the next step? Is Liriano the guy that’s going to duel Bumgarner, Kershaw, and Wainwright in the playoffs? Maybe. But I feel like we’re still missing that stud #1 that can win 3-4 games over 2 or three playoff series.

  9. Reasonable money, reasonable term. No deal is ever a lock to be a good one, but this is awfully good news.

  10. So far I’m 2-for-2, Liriano back with Bucs, Shark to White Sox.

    It’s a happy day here. I hope Frankie shows up arm-in-arm with Neal at PirateFest and both get a standing O.

    • Good call, I said he would be back all last season and nobody believed me. Several people wanted him traded at the deadline. I knew he wanted to stay in the Burgh and knew the Bucs wanted to keep him. Great signing!!!

      • No. I did a post with the big three and next three and Shark was separate call in same thread. Not much being said about EV other than Bucs, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Astros become interested, or any AL Central team other than Detroit.

  11. Hard to say an off-season in which the team lost Russell Martin a success, but this signing sure does give this fan hope for another playoff run next season. Great job NH and the rest of the PBC Organization!

  12. With his signing the only pitcher in the top five with an ERA over 4 is Burnett. Now they need a 1st basemen and that should do it.

    • Better come to grips with the fact the 2012 NL HR Champ, and Cardinals Killer, Pedro Alvarez, will be the Opening Day1B for your Pittsburgh Pirates!

  13. The Pirates still have never signed, not some rumor planted by the Ogden Media Empire, a free agent for $10 million, $13 million, $15 million per year.

    • LOL. Madden and Smizik’s favorite game, keep moving the goal posts. Nevermind that the BMTIB has successfully completed what was once viewed as an impossible task – returning the Pirates to relevance in a sustainable manner.

      • Smizik is probably still holding out hope for Bob Robertson to serve as the right-handed platoon partner at first base.

        • Do you read Smizik? He’s actually pretty reasonable about the Pirates. He gives credit where credit is due and has defended Huntington and Nutting on many things.

          • That is the whole thing with Smizik, one day its sunny, the next it is a downpour. He is so reactionary that it is laughable. Last season he wrote a blog about the collapse every time they lost 3 games and then came back with a sunny post a week later. His coverage of NH and crew is equally bipolar, one day he gives them credit, the next he bashes the farm system (just last week or so). Its like he is throwing darts with no real knowledge of anything, which describes him well.

            • jalcorn, possibly someone will let many of Bob S’s blog readers know that Nutting actually DID NOT spend all the money on the ski lift at 7 Springs ?

              • Now that he chose to be that type of journalist, yeah. But it doesnt go much to his credibility when he “chose” to stop reporting as unbiasedly as possible and instead goes for a blog where he can spew whatever he wants. At that point, i stop calling people journalists. Its not a job as much as a way to make money while not actually adhering to any real standards.

  14. Is it common practice to put a time limit on an offer in MLB? Pirates know that Lester deal is close to going down, will a team say this offer expires as soon as the Lester deal is struck? Something to that effect?

  15. Yes! Largest FA contract in Pirate history and well on our way to highest payroll in history. Dang cheap Nutting.

  16. This deal is good in several ways:
    1. It makes the Burnett deal even better because now AJ is only the #3 starter, he fits great there.
    2. It seems there is $ left to bring back a reclamation pitcher like Morrow to compete with Locke for the 5th spot, with the loser going to the bullpen.
    3. Now the Pirates only need to find a RH bat off the bench. I would go out of the box with another utility like Gordon Beckham and let Sean Rodriguez play 1b against lefties.

      • Bullpen seems like a natural transition , doesnt it ? The kid seems like hemay simply find it challenging to pace himself.. Ultra-competitive maybe? Sounds like back of the pen.. That way he can hulk out 20 pitches 60 or 70 times and rest when his arms sore…

    • Wonder what it would take to get Van Slyke from the Dodgers? Not just the name association, Van Slyke absolutely crushed the ball last year outside Dodger Stadium:

      .314 AVE, .657 AVE, 1.073 OPS in about 100 AB’s on the road. A right handed outfield bat to compliment Travis Snyder.

  17. Nice! Sounds like the QO did what it was supposed to do… Suppress the market so that the former team has the advantage in signing him.

    The team is still a little worse than last year, so i wouldn’t be surprised to see Neal either sign a bounceback FA or trade for a decent SP who is one year from FA like Zimmermann, Fister, or Kazmir.

  18. Have not heard of anyone else being in the mix as of yet. Would like to see 3 years and a club option for the 4th, maybe give him a 1mil buyout for the 4th.

  19. Hope they get it done – think it will be easier to do BEFORE Lester signs – and I am actually hoping they come up with a creative way to accommodate a fourth year if Liriano wants it. Once Lester is off the board the market will pick up for Liriano.

  20. I find it funny how these kids with their “sources” seem to come out of the woodwork. Hope he’s right though.

  21. If I’m Liriano, I have to wonder if leaving Searage’s orbit will lead to a return to the 2011-2012 version of himself…

  22. Robert Murray? Is this kid about 13-14? When I was his age we watched the game of the week ob a black and white TV and read Roy McHugh.

    • While he was the first source, we waited for a more reliable source to confirm it before posting anything. He is 18 btw, not that it matters

      • Wonder what his source is? Someone in Liriano’s or his agent’s camp? How does an 18 year old have those connections? Has he hit on anything other than a Liriano report? This kid reporter is just a very interesting story within the story…

        • According to his twitter picture, he was 1 of 2 guys to break the Billy Butler signing. Pretty impressive to break 2 fairly big FA signings at his age.

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