Former Pirates lefty, wild-card winner Francisco Liriano announces retirement after 14 seasons

Former Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano, the winning pitcher in their 2013 wild-card win over the Cincinnati Reds, announced his retirement Monday after a 14-year major league career.

Liriano, 38, had a 112-114 record and 4.15 ERA in 1,813⅔ innings over 416 games (300 starts) for the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers.

Liriano was an All-Star for the Twins in 2006, when he went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and finished third in AL rookie of the year voting, and a two-time winner of the comeback player of the year award. He tossed a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox on May 3, 2011, despite throwing only 66 of his 123 pitches for strikes and walking six batters.

Twice he finished in the top 11 in voting for the Cy Young Award (11th in AL in 2010, ninth in NL in 2013). He won a World Series with the Astros in 2017 and completed his career with the fifth-most strikeouts (1,815) of any Dominican-born pitcher in MLB history.

The Pirates signed Liriano in 2013, which led to a resurgent season in which he went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 26 starts in the first of three consecutive seasons they reached the postseason.

Liriano earned the victory in a 6-2 NL wild-card win over the Reds, outdueling Johnny Cueto by allowing one run on four hits and one walk while striking out five in seven innings of a 6-2 win at PNC Park. He took the loss, however, in a 5-3 defeat to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the NL Divisional series.

Liriano followed that by going 7-10 with a 3.38 ERA in 2014. That December, he re-signed for the richest free-agent deal in club history at $39 million for three years. He was 12-7 with a career-best 205 strikeouts in 2014 but slipped to 6-11 with a 5.46 ERA the next season.

The Pirates traded Liriano to Toronto, along with top-10 prospects in catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez, for pitcher Drew Hutchison in a salary dump. Liriano also recorded an AL wild-card win for the Blue Jays, entering in the 10th inning and retiring all five batters he faced.

In 2019, Liriano returned to the Pirates on a minor league contract and earned a spot in the bullpen. He was 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA in 69 relief appearances. Liriano was 46-39 with a 3.65 ERA in 176 games over four-plus seasons with the Pirates.

He signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020 but was released in mid-July and opted out of the season due to covid-19. He went to spring training with Blue Jays last February but opted out in late March.

Per FanSided, Liriano released the following statement through agent Mike Maulini: “I have spent some time recently reflecting on my career and thinking about my future. After many discussions with my family, friends, and others who care about me, I have decided to retire from professional baseball after a 20-year career.

“I want to thank all the coaches and fans in both the US and the Dominican Republic who have supported me on my baseball journey.

“I also want to thank my wife and kids for all their love. I’m going to miss playing, but I will stay close to the game as I work with my kids on their own baseball journey.

“Hopefully, there will be another Liri in MLB soon (no pressure)!”

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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