Many have speculated that Liriano was a candidate to be the first player to accept a qualifying offer, but he and agent Greg Genske of the Legacy Agency will head into the open market in search of a multi-year deal instead. As I noted in Liriano’s free agent profile last week, even if the market doesn’t materialize the way they’d hoped, a one-year deal at or near the rate of the qualifying offer should be available late in the offseason, as it was for Ervin Santana. I pegged Liriano for a three-year, $40MM contract in that profile even with a QO attached.
Liriano, who turns 31 this offseason, was excellent in a pair of injury-shortened seasons with the Pirates. In 323 1/3 innings, he pitched to a 3.20 ERA with 9.4 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and a 52.4 percent ground-ball rate. His K/9 rate over the past two seasons is second only to Max Scherzer among free agents, and his ground-ball rate ranks fourth. Liriano’s injuries weren’t the most troubling with Pittsburgh, either. He broke his non-throwing arm in a fall in his apartment in the 2012-13 offseason and suffered an oblique strain that kept him out for the first month of 2014.