By Jared Lankes
When the Pirates traded Francisco Liriano along with Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez at the trade deadline to Toronto to unload Liriano’s suddenly lofty salary, it was met with a lot of criticism. And GM Neal Huntington did not give fans a reason to cheer about it by shoving “financial flexibility” down people’s throats. You can obviously see why people were upset by this. However, a couple of new developments have come to light to make the trade not look so bad. In fact, the trade actually looks pretty good right about now.
Firstly, since the trade, Reese McGuire and Harold Ramirez have dropped off a lot. McGuire and Ramirez went from high in top 10 in the Blue Jays weak farm system to outside the top 10. They have each dropped off by a ton as both have major flaws that are now starting to show up. Neither player projects to be anything special at this point. I am certain both the Blue Jays and Pirates knew this when the trade was made. The value of both those guys has plummeted and was really never as high as many originally may have thought.
Secondly, the Pirates have used that financial flexibility from the trade to vastly help the 2017 roster. This offseason, the Pirates have signed Ivan Nova and Daniel Hudson to contracts. These contracts given will combined to be about a total commitment in 2017 to what Liriano would have made (not counting performance bonuses on any of the deals). With Liriano on the books, these moves would not have been possible.
In the end, the Pirates turned two fringe prospects and a very declining pitcher in for Drew Hutchison, Daniel Hudson, and Ivan Nova, at least as far as 2017 goes. Looking back at it, I think it looks really good. Dumping one of the worst pitchers in the NL in 2016 with two prospects who don’t figure to amount to too much to get three pitchers is a good deal, in my opinion.
So, the Liriano trade was not a bad trade. In fact, it was a good trade looking back. It was a hard trade to see working at the time, but now seeing all the developments and results of it, I think it’s easy to see that this trade has actually made the Pirates much better as they head into 2017.