Francisco Liriano, Blue Jays Reportedly Agree to Minor League Contract

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorFebruary 3, 2021

Pittsburgh Pirates' Francisco Liriano in action during a baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2019, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Left-handed starting pitcher Francisco Liriano and the Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly agreed to a minor league contract, per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.

Liriano will be a non-roster invitee to training camp, per Longley. MLB.com defines one as follows:

"A non-roster invite (NRI) is an invitation for a player who is not on a club's 40-man roster to attend Major League camp in Spring Training and compete for a roster spot. Clubs can extend NRIs to their upper-level Minor Leaguers and also include NRIs in Minor League contracts given to free agents in the offseason."

Per Shi Davidi of Sportnet, Liriano will receive $1.5 million plus performance bonuses if he makes the Jays.

Liriano has taken the field for 14 seasons (2005-2006, 2008-2019) on six teams. He started his career with the Minnesota Twins in 2005 and took the league by storm in 2006, going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 121 innings. He finished third in the American League Rookie of the Year voting and made the All-Star team.

Unfortunately, Liriano missed the entire 2007 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He has gone 99-109 with a 4.28 ERA and 1.39 WHIP ever since.

Liriano has enjoyed some very good seasons in his career, which includes time with the Twins, Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates (two stints), Blue Jays, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.

He finished 11th in the AL Cy Young voting in 2010 for Minnesota and ninth in the National League Cy Young voting in 2013 for Pittsburgh. The latter year was arguably his finest since 2006, as he went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 161 frames.

Liriano's last MLB action occurred as a Pirates reliever in 2019, when he went 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA, 1.36 WHIP and 63 punchouts in 70 frames. He opted out of the 2020 MLB season amid the COVID-19 pandemic despite having "multiple guaranteed offers" on the table, per Robert Murray of FanSided.

Now the door is open for a potential return to Toronto, where Liriano played during the 2016 and 2017 seasons.