The Pirates have told agents of other free agent starting pitchers that they are focused on signing the 31-year-old veteran, and will only look at other alternatives if they are unable to sign him. Liriano declined the Pirates’ $15.3 million qualifying offer earlier in the offseason hoping to get a better offer on the free agent market.
He has been linked to the Red Sox and Royals, and is a candidate to sign late in the offseason given the draft pick compensation that comes with signing him.
The Pirates are in need of starting pitching just in case Liriano and Edison Volquez decide to sign elsewhere. They have already signed veteran A.J Burnett, and have been linked to several other starters including Justin Masterson, Brett Anderson, and Brandon McCarthy.
The left hander went 7-10 with a 3.38 ERA, a 3.58 FIP, and a K/BB ratio of 175/81 over 162.1 innings pitched last season. Over the past two seasons Liriano has the best swinging strike percentage of any starter in the majors at 13.4%, and his 69.4% contact rate in 2014 was the lowest in the majors. Liriano is one of the best bargains in baseball, so it makes perfect sense that Pittsburgh is trying hard to re-sign him.