PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates traded their star pitcher Francisco Liriano to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday.
Baseball writer Robert Murray first reported the trade on Twitter.
The Pirates sent Liriano and two prospects to Toronto for pitching prospect Drew Hutchison.
Liriano revived his career in Pittsburgh, going 35-25 from 2013-15 while helping the Pirates to three straight playoff berths. He has struggled this season, posting a 6-11 record with a 5.46 ERA. The Blue Jays are hoping a change of scenery can help Liriano return to form as they compete for the AL East crown. Liriano is signed through 2017 and is due $13.66 million next season.
"The financial flexibility and adding Drew Hutchinson with our ability to reallocate those dollars onto this club in different ways going forward (were attractive)," Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington said.
The 25-year-old Hutchinson has a career record of 30-22 but with a 4.92 ERA. He is 1-0 this season with the Blue Jays and has spent most of the year in Triple-A.
The Blue Jays also received catcher Reese McGuire and outfielder Harold Ramirez.
The Pirates enter the final two months of the season with just one starter remaining from the opening day rotation: Gerrit Cole. Jonathon Niese, who they traded earlier in the day back to the New York Mets, and Liriano have been traded while Jeff Locke and Juan Nicasio have been moved to the bullpen, though Locke will get a spot start this week in Atlanta.
Huntington stressed the Pirates still believe they can compete this season and believes in a way addition by subtraction might help. Nova will take Liriano's spot in the rotation. Ryan Vogelsong, out since May with facial fractures, will return this week. Rookie Jameson Taillon has shown signs of promise and rookie Tyler Glasnow will also be back in the rotation when he returns from shoulder fatigue.
"We had some guys that weren't getting the job done," Huntington said. "How do we improve our rotation to give this club that's three games out in the loss column an opportunity to regain (positioning)? The starting pitching was our biggest challenge and we felt like we addressed that somewhat internally and somewhat externally."
But some Pittsburgh Pirates fans say the shakeup is solely based on money. At least, that's what Pirates fan Dave Finnegan thinks.
"I think it's pretty obvious it's a money move, and they're raising the white flag of the season," Finnegan said.
"I just don't see what plan they have. It doesn't make sense to make a trade like that now," another Pirates fan, Ryan Wilpula, added.
The trades were the talk amongst fans at the All-Star Sports Bar and Grill in Robinson Township.
"It's the deadline. Everybody is desperate. If you're in contention you're gonna try and improve your team. Everybody is desperate," Paul Merriman from Houston, Texas, said.
Andrew Fillipponi, from 93.7 The Fan, also weighed in.
"What the Pirates have done here is they're trying to persuade fans to think they're doing everything they can to put a winning team on the field this year," Fillipponi said. "The fear among Pirates fans is that their moves are not motivated by good baseball sense. They're motivated by dollars and cents."
"It appears they're giving up on the season this year. At least, that's my opinion anyway," Pirates fan Ed Wielgus said.
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