The Pittsburgh Pirates‘ rotation may soon get an upgrade with the return of veteran lefty Francisco Liriano. The Pirates signed Liriano this offseason to a guaranteed one year deal that could turn into two year contract in he spends enough time on the active roster.
Liriano made his first rehab start on Monday for Single-A Bradenton. He went three perfect innings striking out six. He is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday for the AA Altoona Curve.
Last season was a mess for Liriano. He split the year between the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox, having little success at either stop. Overall he had a record of 6-12 with an earned run average of 5.34. The only bright spot was that he struck out more than a batter per inning pitched.
If Liriano can find the form he had back in 2010 then the Pirates will have themselves a solid top of the rotation starter. If he pitches like he has the past two seasons, however, the Pirates might be better off sticking with a guy like Jeff Locke and finding out if he has a future in the big leagues or not.
Liriano is just 29 years old so he might not be a lost cause, but it is important that the team doesn’t waste a lot of time if he is stinking up the joint. You don’t want him to collect enough roster time for his 2014 contract to kick in and have him throwing up a 5.00 ERA. He looks like he will be back in May so give him until July, and if he doesn’t have it by then cut him loose.