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5 Reasons Why Pittsburgh Pirates Should Trade Francisco Liriano

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5 Reasons Why Pittsburgh Pirates Should Consider Trading Francisco Liriano

5 Reasons Pittsburgh Pirates Should Consider Trading Francisco Liriano
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the luxury of having an extremely deep pitching staff. Both their starting rotation and bullpen have more than enough capable arms. Since GM Neal Huntington took over with the Pirates, he has done a great job of building very cheap but effective bullpens.

Small market teams like the Pirates have to make difficult choices at times in regards to personnel decisions. Sometimes the best thing a team with limited budget room can do is trade some of their highly-paid players when their value is at its highest. The Pirates traded Joel Hanrahan last offseason because he was due to make over $7 million in arbitration; the Bucs can’t afford to pay that much to a relief pitcher. Part of the return from that trade was Mark Melancon, an All-Star last season.

With good scouting, something the Pirates seem to have, trading for younger, cheaper players can be an effective strategy. The Bucs have several examples of acquiring players and transforming their careers – especially pitchers. A.J. Burnett, Francisco Liriano, Melancon, Jason Grilli, Vin Mazzaro and Hanrahan are all recent examples of pitchers that the Pirates have helped immensely.

For these reasons, I think it would be beneficial for the Pirates to take the same approach this offseason. When I was looking at their current roster, I found two legitimate impact players that I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bucs try to trade before next season: Grilli and Liriano. I have already written a piece about a potential Grilli trade, so this time I will attempt to convince you that a Liriano trade isn’t completely insane.

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5. Great Potential Return

Great Potential Return
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

I'm obviously not suggesting that the Pittsburgh Pirates trade Francisco Liriano for a bucket of baseballs. They should tell the other 29 teams that he is available, but only deal him if they get blown away with an offer they can't refuse. I am fairly confident that they would get a great offer for Liriano; he is a lefty and there aren't many great starting pitchers in free agency this year.

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4. Francisco Liriano Has Never Had Back-To-Back Great Seasons

Francisco Liriano Has Never Had Back-To-Back Great Seasons
Charles LeClaire-USA Today Sports

Despite being one of the most talented pitchers in baseball, Francisco Liriano has never been able to duplicate success for more than one season. In 2006, 2008 and 2010, Liriano had good seasons. Liriano didn't repeat his success one time after one of those great years. Couple that with a history of injury problems, and I see no problem with the Pittsburgh Pirates potentially exploring a Liriano trade.

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3. Small Market and Limited Budget

Small Market and Limited Budget
Jeff Curry-USA Today Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates simply don't have the flexibility to give out large contracts. Trading for young, cheap talent is always the best method for the Bucs when building a roster. Trading Francisco Liriano could get the Pirates a ton of value in return, and they shouldn't hesitate to consider moving him.

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2. Great Scouting and Coaching

Great Scouting and Coaching
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage doesn't get nearly enough credit for the work he does. He has fixed so many "broken" pitchers in his time with the Bucs. It wouldn't be a bad idea to trade Francisco Liriano and search the free agent/trade market for the next Liriano-type bounce-back candidate. Josh Johnson is an obvious candidate for the Pirates to try and sign.

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1. Help On The Way?

Help On The Way?
Denny Medley-USA Today Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have an extremely deep farm system, especially in regards to starting pitching. Jameson Taillon, Luis Heredia, Tyler Glasnow and Nick Kingham are all potential front-line starting pitchers. Taillon should be in MLB by June of 2014.