Francisco Liriano was acquired by the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday in exchange for right-hander Drew Hutchison. Toronto also got two prospects in the deal, catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez.
Liriano has a 6-11 record this season in 21 starts with a 5.46 earned-run average and 116 strikeouts. The best season of Liriano’s 11-year career came in 2013 with the Pirates, while he was an all-star at 22 with Minnesota in 2006. Atkins believes that Liriano’s experience outweighs this season’s numbers
“I think his experience and talent, what he’s accomplished his entire career, we feel like it gives us a chance to have someone that could be pitching in Game 2 or 3 or 4 in a World Series run,” said GM Ross Atkins.
“The fact he’s been there before in a playoff chase, pitched in a major playoff game, and still has very good stuff. We’re hopeful that if we get him back to just close to where he was then it’s better than our alternative.”
Liriano had a 16-8 record with a 3.02 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 2013 with Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin as his primary backstop. Atkins says the relation was more of an added bonus than a primary factor in making the deal.
“No question, I think that Francisco will benefit from a veteran catcher, the experience of Russ and the familiarity, I think if we come up with a plan that we should expect some correction, but this is not on Russ Martin by any means. But we did see that as an added benefit.”