Originally written on WHYGAVS?  |  Last updated 11/20/14
Mlb-rays-twins-jul
After a long, weird negotiation, Ken Rosenthal reported this afternoon that the Pirates and Francisco Liriano have finally finalized a version of the two-year/$12.75 million contract that we'd all thought the two sides agreed to back before Christmas. The main difference in the deal is that if Liriano misses any time this year due to his injury (which Rosenthal characterizes as a broken non-pitching arm), his 2013 salary will be rolled back accordingly.  Assuming that there are no more weird plot twists in this story, that leaves the Pirates with a rotation of Burnett, Rodriguez, McDonald, Karstens, and Liriano for 2013, with Jeff Locke, Kyle McPherson, Vin Mazzaro, and Jeanmar Gomez to provide immediate depth while Gerrit Cole gets himself ready in Indianapolis. I spent most of the winter warning about rotation depth and how the Pirates could really be in for disaster this year, so bringing Karstens back and signing Liriano are both welcome moves. This pitching staff still raises plenty of questions (Rapid fire: How much do Burnett and Wandy have left? How many innings can you count on from the old guys? James McDonald in general. How many innings is Karstens good for and is he due for some regression? Was betting on Francisco Liriano a really dumb idea? What happened to his arm anyway? Can Locke or McPherson be a solid big league pitcher if they have to be? How quickly will Cole be ready? Seriously, why even waste time with Gomez or Mazzaro? Should I have mentioned Justin Wilson or is he just going to be a reliever?) but it's fair to say that the Pirates have five Major League pitchers that are all capable of pitching well in their rotation for now and that Locke and McPherson aren't really bad options as fringey sixth starters (I'm not opposed to giving either of them innings in 2013; it was just the thought of having to give them innings for lack of other options that worried me).  Like many of the things that we're going to talk about as the 2013 season approaches (I'm going to be blogging more regularly, honest!), there are two different Pirate rotations to consider right now. There's a Theoretical Ideal Pirate rotation, which is actually pretty good. There's a lot of talent in this group -- more so than in any season in recent memory, I think -- that could make that group of five a productive group if everything goes right for the Pirates. There are also plenty of things that could go wrong, which means that the other Pirate rotation -- the Actual Pirate Rotation -- isn't going to be nearly as good as the ideal one. The problem is that 40% of this fivesome is getting up there in age and 40% is maddeningly inconsistent and 20% is Jeff Karstens. That makes it  hard to figure out where this group will fall on the "ideal outcome/abject disaster" continuum, which is kind of maddening with spring training so near. 
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

Izzo criticizes coaches, players after embarrassing loss

Report: Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Is Rampage Jackson heading back to the UFC?

WATCH: DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles after win

Michael Vick: Jameis Winston is the future of the NFL

Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.