Now that the MLB regular season is nearing its end, it’s time to start reviewing some of the offseason moves and see how they worked out. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed Francisco Liriano in late December, but after Liriano broke his arm on Christmas morning, they decided they needed to restructure his contract. It ended up being a very incentive-based contract with bonuses built in for avoiding time on the disabled list.
Liriano was activated off of the disabled list on May 11, so he will be earning $2.125 million this season. He has a $6 million vesting option for 2014 that will be activated. He can also make up to $2.5 million in roster bonuses next season. Liriano has been a huge bargain for the Pirates.
In 24 starts for the Pirates in 2013, Liriano is 16-7 with a 2.92 ERA. He has finally regained his early career success that he had with the Minnesota Twins. 2006 and 2010 were his best seasons prior to 2013. Liriano’s success is keyed by his ability to rack up strikeouts and limit his walks. With the movement on his slider, Liriano is going to walk some batters. His ability to limit them is huge. In 2006 and 2010, his BB/9 were 2.38 and 2.72 respectively. This season, his BB/9 is 3.59, still very good for Liriano. His K/9 in 2006 and 2010 were 10.71 and 9.44 and this season it is 9.00.
There were a few really good signings this past winter, but it seems obvious that Liriano was the best. Not just because of his on-field performance, but because of how much of a bargain he has been for the Bucs.