One (A.J.), Two (Liriano) — Three (Volquez)?
SAN DIEGO — Neal Huntington got his man. Francisco Liriano.
Now NH can turn his attention to the sidecar: Edinson Volquez.
And A.J. Burnett is already back ‘home.’ One step closer to that veteran triumvirate that could be ice down the stretch and in October
The Pirates have reached agreement with Liriano on a three-year deal for $39 million. MLB sources confirmed only the agreement, terms of which were first reported via Twitter by Robert Murray, the Kid Wonder.
The deal will not become official until Liriano passes his physical.
Liriano had been Huntington’s lead quarry from the onset of the offseason market, and it took the richest free-agent deal in club history to bag him. The previous record had been the two-year, $17 million pact that brought Russell Martin to Pittsburgh two years ago.
Bringing Liriano back is expected to also enhance a return by Edinson Volquez, his good friend and fellow free agent.
Between them, Liriano and Volquez won 20 games last season.
From the outset, the Pirates were intent on corralling Liriano prior to his market possibly becoming broader when such top-tier free agent pitchers such as Jon Lester, James Shields and Max Scherzer reached deals.
To make that happen, Huntington may have raised the Ervin Santana precedent with Liriano and his representatives: A year ago, Santana had likewise rejected his qualifying offer (from the Royals) and entered the market seeking a four-year deal. Santana wound up signing a one-year contract with the Braves for $14.1 million on March 12.