PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Francisco Liriano was a mystery to Pirates fans all season.
The Pirates dealt the struggling left-hander to the Blue Jays on Monday in a controversial move that most believe was intended to rid the Pirates’ of Liriano’s salary, rather than directly improve the team. It’s clear that the Pirates were losing patience with Liriano, who is making $13 million this season and is owed $13 million for next season as well.
With Liriano gone, pitching coach Ray Searage is able to speak a bit more freely about him now, which he did during a Tuesday appearance on “The Fan Morning Show.”
Searage said that Liriano put too much pressure on himself, and as his struggles worsened, that pressure eventually built up to the point where he couldn’t get back on track.
“Frankie has always cared about what he did out there on the mound,” Searage said. “And it just happened to snowball that, every time he went out there, he’d try to make up for the previous outing, or the previous inning, and things just got a little bit deeper and deeper for him.”
“The more he tried to get out of it, the more adverse results happened. So, it wasn’t from a lack of effort, that’s for sure. It’s just that he had trouble channeling it.”
Searage understands why fans were upset by the trade, but he urged them to trust in the Pirates’ front office like he has come to.
“Yeah, I work for the Pirates, and Neal Huntington’s my boss,” Searage said. “But, if you guys could only understand, because there’s so many things behind the scenes. What that man does and what [his staff] does, too, these guys work their tail off to try to bring the best product to the Pirates.”
Searage said that he “definitely” believes that he’s been given enough to work with on the pitching staff, and he said that he’s feeling good about what the Pirates did at the deadline.
“I really believe that we’ve made some good adjustments,” Searage said. “Yes, I’m going to miss (Mark) Melancon. Yes, I’m going to miss Liriano. These guys, we were family for a while. But, sometimes change is difficult. Change is hard. But, sometimes you have to make those changes for the best of the organization and the best of the team.”
“I really believe that we’ve taken a step forward, and I’m behind everything that they’ve done 100 percent…I think that everything that Neal has done for the organization during this trade deadline is going to pay off in the long run.”
The interview can be heard here: