Pirates Re-Sign Francisco Liriano

In a winter of runaway inflation, the Pirates have reportedly re-signed Francisco Liriano to a deal that looks downright reasonable.

3/$39M is exactly the contract I guessed a month ago, and just $1 million more per year than our crowdsourcing project came up with. Given that almost every deal signed so far has added an extra year or several million onto the AAV, signing a player for the expected price looks like a relative bargain.

The issue with Liriano is always going to be health. Even the last two years — two of his best seasons — he’s only thrown 160 innings, and he’s only managed to throw 3,000+ pitches in a season once in his career. You don’t sign Francisco Liriano for durability or innings. You sign him because when he’s on the mound, he’s really quite good.

Over the last two seasons, his ERA-/FIP-/xFIP- line is 89/90/87, putting him well above the league average in all three marks. For comparison, other starters with an 87 xFIP- over the last two seasons: Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Garrett Richards, Tyson Ross, and Hyun-Jin Ryu. Jordan Zimmermann is at 88. Cole Hamels is at 89. Jon Lester is at 90.

Now, Liriano has historicaly underperformed his peripherals, but his runner stranding problems haven’t followed him to Pittsburgh, and he’s pitched at essentially a +3 WAR level when he’s been on the mound with the Pirates. Even if you discount that performance for the lower total of innings pitched, Liriano looks like a +2 WAR pitcher for 2015, with some upside beyond that. In this market, $39 million for that kind of value looks like a pretty nice steal for the Pirates.

Of course, he could also break down at any point, and Pittsburgh could end up getting nothing out of their investment. Liriano offsets a lot of his value with about as low a floor as you can find. He’s super high risk/high reward, but for this price, this seems like the right kind of risk/reward balance for the Pirates.

We hoped you liked reading Pirates Re-Sign Francisco Liriano by Dave Cameron!

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Pr
Guest
Pr

I know many will cite this as one of the better FA deals but seems like he wanted to go back and everyone knew it. Maybe I’m wrong

Guest
Guest
Guest

That doesn’t really change anything though. As a pirates fan it is pretty cool that guys now want to play in Pittsburgh. This, and AJ Burnett coming back would have been unthinkable a few years ago

Craig
Guest
Craig

while it is a amazing and incredible feeling to have players actually want to play in Pittsburgh. Its also craaaaaaaaaazy that the Pirates just gave their highest ever FA deal to Francisco Liriano that is also unthinkable a few years ago lol

Deelron
Member
Deelron

Having a guy want to actually play for your team definitely helps to make better deals.

Guest
Guest
Guest

Thanks, Sherlock. How does that change the evaluation of whether it is a smart signing or not though? A good FA deal is a good FA deal, regardless of the other circumstances.

Pirates Hurdles
Guest
Pirates Hurdles

The draft pick comp likely helped a bit as well, good decision to tender an offer even now that the pick is irrelevant.

Guest69
Guest
Guest69

Not sure how that makes it any less of a good deal.