The Pirates have told representatives of free-agent starting pitchers that they are currently working hard to re-sign Francisco Liriano and that he is their main priority on the starting pitching market, according to major-league sources. It is unclear if the Pirates are close to a deal with Liriano at this time, but it appears that they are only looking to circle back to alternatives if they are unable to complete a deal with the left-hander.
Liriano, who turned down the Pirates' qualifying offer at the beginning of the offseason, has also been linked to the Red Sox and Royals on the free-agent market, and is considered a candidate to sign late in the offseason due to the draft-pick compensation that comes with signing him. The Pirates need starting pitching with the potential departures of both Liriano and Edinson Volquez, and are known to be keeping in touch with multiple free-agent starters in case Liriano signs elsewhere even with the signing of A.J. Burnett already completed.
Liriano, 31, is likely looking for a three- or four-year deal on the open market after posting a 3.38 ERA in 29 starts for Pittsburgh last season.