Report: Francisco Liriano Opts Out of MLB Season; Had 'Multiple' Contract Offers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 2, 2020

Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Francisco Liriano throws against the Colorado Rockies during the eighth inning of an MLB baseball game, Friday, August 30, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Veteran southpaw Francisco Liriano has opted out of the 2020 MLB season, according to MLB insider Robert Murray.

Murray reported Liriano had guaranteed offers from multiple teams on the table before deciding not to take part. 

The 36-year-old spent 2019 with the Pittsburgh Pirates, making a full-time transition to the bullpen. He finished with a 3.47 ERA and 63 strikeouts over 70 innings of work.

Liriano was a non-roster invitee of the Philadelphia Phillies, who released him while preparing their final Opening Day roster.

His decision to opt out comes as MLB continues to navigate the season around the COVID-19 pandemic.

League officials temporarily suspended the Miami Marlins' season after they experienced an outbreak. The Phillies had to postpone a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays after a coach and clubhouse employee initially tested positive for COVID-19. A game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers was postponed as well after the Cardinals registered two positive tests. The rest of the series was postponed Saturday. 

Brewers star Lorenzo Cain, who had made five appearances, announced Saturday he was opting out of the remainder of the season, citing "all of the unknowns and uncertainty surrounding our game at this time."

The Houston Astros were the first team to seriously experiment with Liriano as a reliever. He became a lefty specialist, pitching 14.1 innings over the second half of 2017. He also threw 2.1 innings in the playoffs as the Astros won the World Series.

Given his age, the opportunity to pitch in 2021 might not be a guarantee for Liriano. MLB's three-batter minimum rule somewhat devalued specialist relievers as well, casting further doubt on his future.