31-year-old left handed pitcher Francisco Liriano is once again a free agent. However, this time around Liriano comes off a two year stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates in which he posted a solid ERA of 3.02 in 2013 and a 3.38 in 2014. Punching out 338 batters over 323.1 innings in that span, as well.
The southpaw is sure to get more in his new contract than the $1 million for 2013 with a $6 million 2014 option that he got his first go-round with the Pirates, and this is evident by his rejection of the $15.3 million qualifying offer he received from the Pirates this offseason. It is now being reported that Liriano is searching for a 3-4 year contract with an average annual value of $12 million. That would put him in the price range of 3 years/$36 mil and 4 years/$48 million, which is something that seems comparably less than it would cost a team to get the services of a James Shields or Jon Lester. It’s easy to compare Liriano to an Ubaldo Jimenez or Matt Garza—as Alan Gleeman from Hardball Sports did—both of whom commanded $50 million for 4 years.
Hearing Francisco Liriano is looking for three- or four-year deals at $12 million-plus average annual value.
— Bill Brink (@BrinkPG) November 19, 2014
Teams like the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals and the Pirates are already reportedly in on Liriano, while it can be assumed that the teams who lose out on the race for the top-tier free agent pitchers will surely look to Liriano to fit into their rotation. However, the one thing that Liriano has going against him is the draft pick compensation to which he is tied to.
Over the course of Liriano’s career, the lefty has had Tommy John surgery once in 2006, logged 1163 and 1/3 innings, and has never surpassed 200 innings over a Major League season. Though he has thrown a lot of innings, Liriano showed a strong resurgence in Pittsburgh that is surely to keep his value high enough to where an AAV of $12 million is completely within reach. Also, it is likely that the longer Liriano waits out his free agency this winter, the more his value will rise.
It appears the nine-year veteran Francisco Liriano will have his choice of free agent homes. While it seems his market has not reached its peak yet, it’s a safe bet to say you will start hearing his name a lot more when players like Max Scherzer, Jon Lester, and James Shields find their respective landing spots.