Francisco Liriano still undecided about Pirates’ $15.3 million qualifying offer

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that pitcher Francisco Liriano is still undecided about the $15.3 million qualifying offer from the Pirates. The lefty is considering “several options”.

The qualifying offer means the Pirates receive draft pick compensation if Liriano signs elsewhere. For Liriano, though, signing elsewhere may prove difficult since other teams may be reluctant to part with a draft pick for a 31-year-old pitcher who has been inconsistent (though effective) and battled injuries. This was illustrated last off-season, when Ervin Santana didn’t sign until March and only because the Braves suffered back-to-back injuries to Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy.

Liriano may be able to get a multi-year deal, but it isn’t a guarantee and the average annual value would be less than $15 million per year. As a result, accepting the Pirates’ QO may be the best he can do.

Since joining the Pirates in 2013, Liriano has broken out after appearing to be a bust of a prospect. He has a 3.20 ERA with a 338/144 K/BB ratio in 323 1/3 innings over the past two seasons.

Japanese Baseball to begin June 19

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Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.

The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.

The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.

In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.