Hidden Vigorish

Detailed Analysis of The Pittsburgh Pirates

Frankie Goes to Pittsburgh – Part II

The Pirates made it clear they intended on keeping Francisco Liriano when they extended him a qualifying offer. Today they got their man. The Pirates and Liriano agreed to a new 3 year contract worth $39 million dollars. This was a rare spending splurge for the Pirates. Never before had the franchise spent so much on a free agent. It is a positive sign that the Pirates were willing to pay market value for a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. However, let’s put things in perspective just a bit. Retaining Liriano means keeping the status quo. This is not an actual upgrade to the team that walked off the field after losing the N.L. Wild Card Game to the Giants on October 1st. Liriano had an up and down year in 2014. And it should not be forgotten that it was just two years ago that the Pirates were criticized for overpaying Liriano when they signed him the first time. Now the Pirates are committing 3 times as much money to re-sign the same pitcher. For the Pirates to get real value from this contract Liriano will need to pitch more like the guy that dominated the National League in his first season with the Bucs in 2013. That has kind of been the theme of this offseason for GM Neal Huntington as he has attempted to the put the band back together from the team that won 94 games in 2013. Last month he also signed A.J. Burnett. Burnett, Liriano, and Gerrit Cole make up the same 1, 2, 3 punch in the starting rotation that the Pirates rolled with down the stretch in 2013. Now they will try to replicate that success in 2015.

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