(97.1 The Ticket) Al Avila said last week the Tigers were in the market for more pitching, and on Friday the team signed veteran Francisco Liriano, according to Fan Rag Sports.
Liriano’s deal is worth $4 million over one year, with $1 million in incentives.
The 34-year-old lefty pitched for the Blue Jays and the Astros in 2017, recording a 5.66 ERA over 38 appearances. He was better in Houston when he made the switch from starter to reliever.
He’s expected to vie for a spot in the Tigers’ starting rotation.
Liriano will be reunited with Ron Gardenhire, his manager with the Twins from 2005-2012, and Rick Anderson, his pitching coach over the same span. Anderson is now the Tigers’ bullpen coach. Some of Liriano’s best years came in Minnesota, where he was an All-Star in 2006 and a fringe Cy Young candidate in 2010.
He also garnered Cy Young votes in 2013 with the Pirates.
He turned back the clock in 2016 with the Blue Jays when he pitched to 2.92 ERA over 10 appearances following a midseason trade from Pittsburgh. The Tigers are likely hoping Liriano can pull off a similar feat this year. Should he prove effective over the first half of the season, they can flip him at the trade deadline for prospects.
The Blue Jays dealt Liriano to the Astros at last season’s deadline — solely on the appeal of his track record — and received a solid prospect in Teoscar Hernandez along with MLB veteran Norichika Aoki. The year before that, the Pirates traded Liriano to the Blue Jays in exchange for starting pitcher Drew Hutchinson.
Liriano will likely compete with Mike Fiers, another veteran who came to the Tigers from the Astros, for the fifth spot in the rotation. Michael Fulmer, Jordan Zimmermann, Daniel Norris and Matthew Boyd are expected to occupy the first first four spots.
According to Fan Rag Sports, Liriano wasn’t drawing much interest this offseason until his market started to heat up Friday morning. A deal with the Tigers fell into place rather quickly.
“We’re still looking at the pitching market and we still might add maybe one,” Avila said last Thursday, via MLB.com. “I don’t know if we’re going to be able to add two, but we’re looking to hopefully add one.”
The Tigers are also looking at Tim Lincecum as the 33-year-old attempts a comeback.