The Pirates also sent catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez, their eighth- and ninth-ranked prospects, respectively, per MLB.com, to the Blue Jays.
In return, Toronto shipped struggling starter Drew Hutchison, who was optioned to Triple-A on July 8, to the Pirates.
Liriano is trudging through one of the worst seasons of his career with a 6-11 record and 5.46 ERA. The 32-year-old, who is owed nearly $13.7 million next season, according to Spotrac, was dealt as "a pure salary dump," per Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan.
The 59-46 Blue Jays currently sit 0.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the American League East thanks in part to their strong rotation. Blue Jays starters have posted a team 3.71 ERA, which is fifth-best in the majors.
However, Marcus Stroman, who was perceived as the team's ace heading into the 2016 season, has a rotation-worst 4.92 ERA. Former Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey is 7-12 with a 4.66 mark.
While Stroman and Dickey have struggled, the Blue Jays have received dazzling contributions from Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada:
Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada Stats Games Started Record ERA Strikeouts Aaron Sanchez 21 11-1 2.71 118 J.A. Happ 21 14-3 3.16 111 Marco Estrada 18 6-4 3.02 108
Before this nightmare season, Liriano had an ERA under 3.40 in each of the past three years, but his ERA was above 5.00 three times between 2009 and 2012. His best campaign in recent seasons came in 2013, when he went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA.
The Blue Jays and their fans will be hoping that Liriano can recapture his 2013-15 form, which would further bolster their rotation and postseason hopes.
Adding another arm who can deal with the big bats of the Orioles and Boston Red Sox may be the difference between playing in October and watching the postseason on TV.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.