After struggling through the first four months of the season with the Pirates, lefty Francisco Liriano has enjoyed success since coming to the Blue Jays in a deadline trade, writes Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. Nicholson-Smith notes that, since the trade, Liriano has gotten opposing batters to swing at pitches outside the strike zone 35.1% of the time, up from 27.8% with the Bucs. “He’s always had one of the better arms in baseball. He’s one of those guys that can always dominate teams and he really hasn’t lost a whole lot,” says manager John Gibbons. In seven starts with Toronto, Liriano has a 3.35 ERA, 8.8 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9. If he can maintain similar numbers in 2017, he’ll be more than worth his $13.7MM salary, which means that the Blue Jays will likely come out significantly ahead in the trade that brought Liriano to Toronto, in which they also received prospects Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez while giving up only righty Drew Hutchison, who hasn’t been impressive in the Pirates organization so far. Here’s more from the American League.
- In the coming offseason, the Royals will discuss how best to use righty Joakim Soria and lefty Matt Strahm, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan writes. Soria signed a three-year deal last winter and has had an uneven first season in his return to Kansas City, posting a 4.12 ERA with 9.1 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9. It sounds like he’ll be back in the Royals’ bullpen next year, although the team isn’t sure in what capacity. “[W]e’re going to be very active trying to make sure our bullpen gets back to what it has been. Joakim can be a big part of it,” says GM Dayton Moore. “I know it hasn’t been the type of year that he expected.” Strahm, in contrast, has had an outstanding rookie season in the bullpen, allowing just two runs while striking out 26 batters in his first 19 big-league innings. Strahm spent part of the season as a starter at Double-A Northwest Arkansas, though, and the Royals say they’ll continue to consider him as a starter and that it isn’t guaranteed he’ll break camp with the team.
- The Mariners have announced that they’ve named Justin Hollander their director of baseball operations. The 37-year-old Hollander had previously worked with Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto with the Angels, and last year Hollander served as that organization’s director of player personnel.