The Pirates continue to negotiate with Francisco Liriano

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The Pirates agreed to a two-year, $12.75 million contract with left-hander Francisco Liriano in December, but the deal has yet to be finalized because he broke his right (non-throwing) arm in a bathroom fall. While FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported late last month that the two sides had agreed to a revised deal, it’s not quite done yet.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said yesterday that the club continues to negotiate with Liriano, but he was non-committal when asked whether a deal will be finalized prior to spring training.

“The process continues,” Huntington said. “We have ongoing conversations. I’m not an oddsmaker, so I don’t know if it is likely or unlikely that we will add another pitcher.”

The reported revised deal stipulated that Liriano would reduce his salary for 2013 if he missed any time on the disabled list due to his broken arm, but it’s clear that there’s still some difference of opinion. In fact, Tom Singer of MLB.com reported earlier this week that Liriano will likely end up coming to camp on a minor league deal. That’s some costly fall, though it’s possible that the Pirates just want to see him prove his health before they put pen to paper and add him on the 40-man roster.

Tigers sign Josh Thole to minors deal

Josh Thole
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The Tigers signed catcher Josh Thole to a minor league deal, per an announcement from the Double-A Erie SeaWolves on Friday. Thole is expected to report to Double-A Erie, where he’ll split time with starting catcher Jake Rogers.

Thole, 31, has not appeared in a major or minor league game since 2016. He signed a minors deal with the Diamondbacks back in 2017, but was sidelined through most of the season after undergoing hamstring surgery in April. He was released by the team during spring training and failed to catch on with another major league club through the first two months of the 2018 season.

While the veteran backstop hasn’t tested his skills in pro ball for several years now, he held his own during a short-lived run with the independent New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League. Over 17 games in 2018, Thole batted .317/.425/.367 with three extra-base hits and a .791 OPS in 75 plate appearances. He’s expected to serve as catching depth within the Tigers’ organization, but may yet work his way back to the majors if he can get his average back over the Mendoza Line again — a feat he hasn’t managed since 2015.