According to the Sports Xchange, which is a wire service, the Pirates still haven't finalized their deal with Francisco Liriano yet. Apparently the club would like to bring Liriano in on a minor league deal (presumably with similar terms to the deal he's been close to signing multiple times) with a shot at earning a roster spot, while Liriano wants a guaranteed contract and roster spot (via Pirates Prospects).
At this point, it's pretty safe to say that this whole situation is a huge mess for the Pirates. If they want Liriano on a minor league deal, that's a pretty good indication that they either don't think he's healthy enough to pitch for most of 2013 or that they literally have no idea what the status of his arm is and want to see him throw before signing him.
At this point the Pirates are backed into a corner, because Shaun Marcum is off the market and their options are now to either work something out with a Liriano that may or may not be healthy, give up a draft pick and overpay Kyle Lohse to enter the decline phase of his career in black and gold, or put McPherson/Locke in the rotation and cross their fingers. None of these options are particularly attractive.
I have to agree with you az. Does anyone think that Liriano is a sure bet to perform better and any more consistently that either Locke or McPherson ? If so,please tell me what gives you that confidence ? And no matter what happens,one of those spots in the rotation is going to a temporary placeholder ,unless Cole is a total disaster the first two months of the season.
Re: Locke, if not now, when? I know someone could bunt their eye out in ST, meaning both Locke and McFear could be in the rotation, but I'll roll those dice. Someone could shake out as a short term option later in ST. A minor (or major) trade could be worked. Embrace youth.