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Friday, December 21, 2012

Pirates, Liriano agree to two-year, $14 million deal

This is a better use of money than 2/17 on Russell Martin. Liriano could be this year’s version of A.J. Burnett.

Mike Emeigh Posted: December 21, 2012 at 04:27 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, pittsburgh

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   1. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM (#4330523)
Assuming Liriano actually throws more pitches than Martin over the next 2 years. :-)

These are the sort of deals I don't get. Over the last two years, Liriano has 291 IP and a 79 ERA+. The K-rate is still fab but the walk rate is through the roof. His health record is on par with Rich Harden and Erik Bedard. A guy to take a $1-2 M flyer on, maybe even 1/$7 but 2/$14? Terrible deal.

Meanwhile Guthrie (600 IP, 100 ERA+ 2010-12) signs for 3/$25 and people make fun of the Royals.
   2. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: December 21, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4330536)
Yikes! Don't the Pirates have anyone in their system that can provide a 5 era for 1/20th the cost?
   3. Hit by Pitch Posted: December 21, 2012 at 05:45 PM (#4330547)
Cubs did way better signing Carlos Villanueva for 2/10.
   4. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: December 21, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4330557)
Fun risk to take. Obviously if you can figure something out and bring the walks down a couple of notches, you've really got something. Starting pitchers with that K-rate don't grow on trees. They (realizing that no one around at that time is likely still employed with the team) did coax that one really good year out of the similar Oliver Perez.
   5. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: December 21, 2012 at 06:09 PM (#4330563)
Apparently Liriano started 52 games over the last 2 years. My guess would have been 20. My guess of an ERA above 5 was right on the money though.

But seriously, either this signing is going to be horrible or it's going to be another feather in the cap of the "NL = AAA" crowd.
   6. Walt Davis Posted: December 21, 2012 at 07:17 PM (#4330599)
Obviously if you can figure something out and bring the walks down a couple of notches, you've really got something.

Well, if you can do that and get him out on the field for more than 100 innings. The Pirates tried this last year with Bedard but at least had enough sense to make it a 1/$4.5 deal. The Cubs and Rangers tried this with Harden but only on short-term deals. Like I said, doing this even for 1/$7 I could maybe see; doing it for 1/$7 with a $12 M option I could see.
   7. madvillain Posted: December 21, 2012 at 07:40 PM (#4330618)
That's...not a good deal for the Pirates. Don Cooper couldn't do anything with him and despite good stuff, Liriano throws way too many meatballs.
   8. Lassus Posted: December 21, 2012 at 07:55 PM (#4330625)
   9. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:02 PM (#4330628)
Dan also commented on the deal a bit at Bucs Dugout. ZiPS seems pretty bullish on Liriano.

Part of the perception gap here is a function of defense-independent stuff. Liriano's raw ERA last year was 5.34, but his xFIP was a much friendlier 4.14. In 2011, the xFIP was a still moderately acceptable 4.52, and in 2010, it was a stellar 2.95.

PNC Park is also a very good place for lefties to pitch, which ought to help him.
   10. madvillain Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:19 PM (#4330639)
Part of the perception gap here is a function of defense-independent stuff. Liriano's raw ERA last year was 5.34, but his xFIP was a much friendlier 4.14. In 2011, the xFIP was a still moderately acceptable 4.52, and in 2010, it was a stellar 2.95.


Sure, but over his last 300 or so innings, spanning 4 seasons and 3 teams, his era+ is 80. xFIP is a good tool but it's not perfect, and Liriano seems like the type of pitcher that xFIP doesn't accurately project.
   11. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:28 PM (#4330642)
Sure, but over his last 300 or so innings, spanning 4 seasons and 3 teams, his era+ is 80.


Two teams, not three. Unless you're counting the Pirates, which would seem kind of cheap...

Also, I get an 86 ERA+ over the last four years, not an 80.
   12. madvillain Posted: December 21, 2012 at 08:44 PM (#4330649)

Two teams, not three. Unless you're counting the Pirates, which would seem kind of cheap...

Also, I get an 86 ERA+ over the last four years, not an 80.


I mistook the "tot" on bref as "tor" and counted 3.

Anyways, I didn't bother to do the math exactly because it doesn't really matter. There are pitchers that DIPS theories don't cover very well. Liriano is one of those guys.

He's pretty much the exact type of pitcher Don Cooper has had great success with, and Cooper struck out with Liriano. Something doesn't add up with him, and I wouldn't pay 14 million to find out if I'm the Pirates.
   13. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:39 PM (#4330669)
Again, though, this is the team where AJ Burnett got straightened out. Burnett dropped a walk per nine innings in 2012 and went from two straight years of an ERA over 5 to 3.51. I think Liriano is in exactly the same place; the rest of his arsenal is pretty good and most of what he needs to do is to stop throwing so many pitches outside of the strike zone.

-- MWE
   14. DL from MN Posted: December 21, 2012 at 09:41 PM (#4330672)
Part of Liriano's problem was terrible repeatability in his mechanics from the stretch. Much worse with runners on base.
   15. Voros McCracken of Pinkus Posted: December 21, 2012 at 10:03 PM (#4330678)
Liriano's ERA+ is unfairly low in that he's given up a really small number of unearned runs (for reasons having to do with his pitching style, with all the walks, strikeouts and homers, his fielders don't see much action). He's been a better pitcher than that 86 ERA+ by looking at runs allowed instead.

In any event while it may be true that FIP overrates him, I think it's also fair to go in the other direction and say getting a guy with an 86 ERA+ that FIP overrates is probably better than getting one with an 86 ERA+ that FIP sees the same way. If the first guy gives you something between the two, he's a useful part.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:18 AM (#4330766)
AJ Burnett also was (and is) a guy you could kinda rely to give you at least 180 IP. Liriano is a guy you have to (a) straighten out and (b) keep on the field for 180 innings just to get him to (c) Edwin Jackson. Again, guys like Bedard and Harden were good pitchers who couldn't stay healthy; Liriano has been a bad pitcher who can't stay healthy. That is not an attractive package and not somebody you guarantee 2 years.
   17. Sunday silence Posted: December 22, 2012 at 05:16 AM (#4330817)
Can someone who follows the Bucs closely explain what the hell happened near the trade deadline or whatever it was when they were within a few games of Cincy, they brought up Marte, and traded for Snider and Sanchez. They seemed like reasonable decisions and then won like 33% of their games the last two months of the season. what the hell happened?
   18. Rennie's Tenet Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4330838)
what the hell happened?


The August-September awfulness is not a one-year phenomenon.

2008: .315
2009: .305
2010: .362
2011: .321
2012: .339

My crackpot theory is that the Pirates' institutional calendar has run from trade deadline to trade deadline for so many years that the team just lets up on August 1.
   19. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4330842)
I would think his success in the (albeit increasingly distant) past would make him a slightly better bet than your average DIPS-defier. Obviously the Pirates are paying a premium because of 2006 Liriano, maybe one that is too high.

Oh, and O. Perez was much worse than this guy.
   20. Greg K Posted: December 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4330890)

Oh, and O. Perez was much worse than this guy.

Oddly enough Perez is only two years older and has more WAR over the past two years.

*Putting it in as flattering terms as possible*

EDIT: And Odalis Perez is only 34!
   21. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4330898)
But seriously, either this signing is going to be horrible or it's going to be another feather in the cap of the "NL = AAA" crowd.


42 wins, an ERA under 3 for the length of this contract. Take it to the bank.
   22. Mike Emeigh Posted: December 22, 2012 at 01:10 PM (#4330899)
The quick answer on "what the hell happened", at least in 2012, is that (a) the Pirates ran up their record in July against the lesser teams in the NL, (b) they reverted to form when the schedule got tougher in August, and (c) Neil Walker got hurt, and the team simply didn't have enough depth to overcome that loss.

-- MWE
   23. Bruce Markusen Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4330922)
Wow, Biggio is not a Hall of Famer? He scored more than 100 runs eight times, stole over 400 bases, hit nearly 300 home runs, played well defensively at a tough position, and had the 3,000 hits.

This is not dominance? This is not a Hall of Famer? Wow.
   24. base ball chick Posted: December 22, 2012 at 02:36 PM (#4330930)
bruce

he is not a hall of famer because he hung on 1-2 extra years when he was pretty much cooked to get that 3000 hits and we all know that hall of famers never hang on to the last second

besides, he knew ken caminiti and was friends with him in the early 90s and if that doesn't prove biggio is an alcholic and a drug user, i don't know what does
   25. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: December 22, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4330968)
pirate left field fence is a mile from home plate. liriano can let tough guys try and take him deep all day long at pnc and let the outfielder track down the fly balls.

   26. Russ Posted: December 22, 2012 at 05:08 PM (#4330989)
Basically Mike's reason (c) is the kind of reason for the crappy August records in general. The Pirates never have any depth and by August, something has inevitably gone wrong and that lack of depth is exposed.

The other issue I think is that the Pirates depend on two types of players historically: players with very little experience and washed up vets. I would guess that these two types of players are the ones most likely to beak down after the All-Star break.
   27. Walt Davis Posted: December 22, 2012 at 10:01 PM (#4331174)
liriano can let tough guys try and take him deep all day long at pnc and let the outfielder track down the fly balls.

Well, sure, but Casey Coleman can do that too for a lot less than $7 M. :-)

   28. DL from MN Posted: December 23, 2012 at 12:42 AM (#4331264)
Target Field LF was pretty far away. It's hard for Liriano to be effective when he can't locate the slider whenever he has to pitch from the stretch. Then he's fastball/change and players can hit that. The nasty slider is the reason he's in the big leagues. Last year it seemed like all the K's bunched together until someone got on base and then you got all the BB and HR.

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