Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Francisco Liriano to 2-Year Deal

Matt Fitzgerald@@MattFitz_geraldCorrespondent IIIDecember 21, 2012

The Pittsburgh Pirates have signed Francisco Liriano to a two-year deal, as reported by the Star Tribune's La Valle E. Neal III on Friday.

According to Neal, the former Minnesota Twins southpaw will receive $14 million over the contract's duration.

After being in the playoff hunt for the first half of the year, the Pirates collapsed down the stretch of the 2012 MLB season. The much-maligned franchise could use a spark, and Liriano will look to provide that.

The rotation consists most prominently of A.J. Burnett, James McDonald and Wandy Rodriguez. The disappointment that was the combined performance of Erik Bedard and Kevin Correia likely triggered this move to sign Liriano, but the longtime Twin is far from a sure thing.

After a promising start to his career, Liriano had to undergo Tommy John surgery, missing the entire 2007 season. That was after a 12-3 campaign with a phenomenal 2.16 ERA.

Since then, Liriano simply hasn't been the same, although he did win the 2010 AL Comeback Player of the Year award after winning 14 games. But the last few years haven't been so kind, and he went a combined 6-12 last year with the Chicago White Sox and the Twins.

This could be criticized as a reach for a veteran player by the Pittsburgh front office.

However, if Liriano is somehow able to regain some of the form he found in 2010, the signing could perhaps be a worthy, cost-effective investment in a pitcher who has definitely shown promise throughout his career.

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