With spring training fast approaching, the Pittsburgh Pirates continue to try to work out a contract with Francisco Liriano.
The holdup now appears to be that the Pirates want to sign Liriano to a minor league deal with an invitation to major league spring training and a legitimate chance to make the rotation. However, Liriano is said to at least want one guaranteed year with an option for 2014.
The sides agreed to terms on a two-year, $12.75 million contract on Dec. 22. A few days later, though, Liriano suffered a broken right (non-throwing) arm, reportedly in a fall in his bathroom in the Dominican Republic. The Pirates then backed away from the deal.
Both Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and Liriano's agent, Greg Genske, have declined to comment on the negotiations.
However, a source with knowledge of the talks said the Pirates don't want to guarantee any money in the contract because their doctors question whether Liriano will be ready to start the season on time. The source also said the Pirates are comfortable walking away from Liriano and going with either left-hander Jeff Locke or rookie right-hander Kyle McPherson in a rotation that would also include A.J. Burnett, James McDonald, Jeff Karstens and lefty Wandy Rodriguez.
Liriano, 29, is coming off a poor season. He went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games, including 28 starts, with the Minnesota Twins and the Chicago White Sox.