Originally posted on WHYGAVS?  |  Last updated 1/21/13
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. 
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Hugh Freeze resigns amid reports he contacted escort service

Dodgers reportedly ‘in the mix’ for top left-handed relievers

Did LeBron troll the world with Ben Simmons birthday tweet?

O.J. Simpson granted parole, will be released in October

Jourdan Lewis will miss start of camp for domestic abuse trial

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Vick 'truly sorry' for comments about Kaepernick

NFL owners pushing for Ezekiel Elliott suspension?

Report: Derrick Rose in ‘serious talks’ to join Cavs

Giants co-owner: Kaepernick is not being blackballed

Report: Lakers wanted to sign D-Wade if Bulls bought him out

Report: Bell has no plans to miss regular season games

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

Every NFL team’s biggest question as training camps start

Box Score 7/20: Nothing but Nolan

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

Every MLB team's biggest need at the trade deadline

Who won the Open Championship in the year you were born?

Box Score 7/19: The shadow of the trade deadline begins to fall over baseball

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

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 Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

BIG3 Week 5: Pivotal make-or-break weekend in Chicago

The 'Let's show a little love for James Jones' quiz

Making an NFL GM change in the summer has its benefits

The 'Yoan Moncada era starts now' quiz

The Orioles need to unwind past deals if they are going to rebuild

BIG3 Referee Hotline Bling: Sam Hinkie is calling the shots

The 'No one is betterer than Roger Federer' quiz

The 'Youth in baseball is cyclical' quiz

The unexpected rise of the Connecticut Sun

Getaway Day: Class is back in session

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker