The Pittsburgh Pirates have addressed one of their biggest needs by signing left-hander Francisco Liriano to a three-year, $39-million deal. MLB.com's Tom Singer reports that the contract sets a new club record for largest costless-agent contract. The deal is pending Liriano's passing a physical exam.
Liriano is coming off two very solid seasons from 2013-2014 with the Pirates in which he combined for totals of a 23-18 record, 3.20 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 9.4 K/9 IP, 3.26 FIP, and 4.5 WAR in 55 starts. He was a major force in helping the Pirates win two consecutive National League Wild Card berths after finishing with a losing record for twenty straight years from 1993-2012. He won the 2013 wild card game over the Cincinnati Reds.
The Pirates originally signed Liriano to a two-year deal in February of 2013. He made $1 million in his first year as a Pirate and $6 million this past season. With his new contract, he will make $13 million in average annual salary through 2017.
Once known as a dominant left-hander for the Minnesota Twins, Liraino suffered through a number of shoulder injuries that caused him to miss all of 2007 and much of 2008. He then struggled for the next four years, finishing with ERA's over 5.00 in three of those four seasons. He did, however, manage to average 28 starts per season, including a career high 31 in 2010. He also threw a no hitter as a Twin, defeating the Chicago White Sox 1-0 on May 3, 2011.