In a pitching market moving at the pace of a glacier, the Detroit Tigers found someone underneath the layers of marquee names. On Friday, Detroit reportedly agreed to a deal with oFrancisco Liriano, a one-year contract, major-league contract that will give him the chance to compete for a spot in the team's rotation. Robert Murray of FanRag Sports first reported the news.
Liriano, who started the 2017 season in the Toronto Blue Jays rotation, spent the second half of the season as a situational reliever for the Houston Astros. While Liriano received a World Series ring, his 2017 season was far from memorable by the numbers.
In 18 starts for Toronto, Liriano registered a 5.88 ERA and 4.68 BB/9 rate in 82 2/3 innings pitched. Then 33, Liriano saw his swinging-strike rate drop to single digits (9.6 percent) for the first time in three years and opponents swung at only 27 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, per FanGraphs.
The move to Houston and a shift into the bullpen proved beneficial for Liriano, though he still struggled. In 20 appearances, Liriano recorded a 4.40 ERA and cut down on the home run rate, but remained ineffective at locating his pitches.
Now as he enters his age-34 season, Liriano will receive a real opportunity to crack a Tigers' rotation that is depleted and dealing with injuries to Michael Fulmer and Jordan Zimmerman at the start of spring training. So there's a reasonable chance Liriano cracks the rotation at the start of the season. However, given his declining skills, he is off the fantasy radar.