The two-year, $12.75 million deal worked out between the Pittsburgh Pirates and veteran left-hander Francisco Liriano has been put on hold because of an injury to the southpaw's non-throwing arm suffered over the Christmas holiday, reports Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
LHP Francisco Liriano injured right arm in Dec. #Pirates continue to talk to agent, but no deal imminent— Rob Biertempfel (@BiertempfelTrib) January 8, 2013
Biertempfel adds in a more detailed report that the specifics of Liriano's injury cannot be revealed at the moment, but that the club will look into other options if their interest in finalizing the deal continues to wane.
Much like the Red Sox's current predicament with catcher/first baseman Mike Napoli, the Bucs may try to rework the language of their agreement with Liriano to protect themselves in the case that his injury ends up sidelining him for a prolonged period of time.
If the Pirates are unable to come to an agreement with Liriano and cannot find a replacement on the open market, their rotation for next season would have to consist of at least two rookie starters. While Pittsburgh does have a bevy of pitching prospects to work with -- including Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon and Kyle McPherson -- the club would probably prefer to start most (or all) of them in the minors rather than having to rely on them from Opening Day.