According to Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun, the Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to terms with veteran pitcher Francisco Liriano. The southpaw will attempt to prolong his career on a minor league deal as a non roster invitee this spring. Shi Davidi of Sportnet is reporting that the deal is worth $1.5 million including performance bonuses if Liriano makes the squad.
The 37-year old last pitched in the majors in 2019 after signing a deal with the Philadelphia Phillies last season. In 2019, Liriano was very impressive with the Pittsburgh Pirates making 69 appearances with a respectable 3.47 earned run average while lefties hit just .194 versus the wiley veteran.
Liriano spent parts of two seasons with the Blue Jays before he was shipped to the Houston Astros at the 2017 trade deadline in exchange for Teoscar Hernandez and Nori Aoki. In 28 games including 26 starts for Toronto, the lefty posted a 4.77 earned run average. He also pitched out of the bullpen in the playoffs for Toronto in 2016.
The Dominican Republic native has 14 MLB seasons under his belt including 11 postseason appearances with six different teams. Liriano sports a career 4.15 earned run average with a 17.8 WAR in 419 games.
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The Blue Jays are stockpiling pitchers hoping to catch lightning in a bottle with a few of them. If Liriano can duplicate his 2019 stat line, there may surprisingly just be a spot for him in the Jays bullpen. It is definitely a low-risk venture with Liriano coming in as a non-roster invitee.
Toronto has already signed Robbie Ray, Kirby Yates, Tyler Chatwood, A.J. Cole and traded for Steven Matz thus far this offseason. The Jays still need to address the rotation as the offseason draws to a close. Liriano is no longer a starting option at this point in his career although he did start 26 games for the Tigers on 2018.
I was very surprised to say the least when I looked up his 2019 stats, Liriano isn’t going to lead the Jays to the promised land, but who knows, he just may make the ball club as a veteran bullpen arm.