Blue Jays trade Liriano to Astros for Aoki, outfield prospect

Left-hander Francisco Liriano. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

The Toronto Blue Jays traded left-hander Francisco Liriano to the Houston Astros for outfielder Nori Aoki and prospect Teoscar Hernández.

Liriano, along with fellow pending free-agent starting pitcher Marco Estrada, was the subject of persistent Blue Jays rumours as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approached.

The 33-year-old Liriano has struggled mightily this season, posting a 5.88 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 18 starts and 82.2 innings. Liriano’s issued just one walk in 63 plate appearances against left-handed hitters this season, compared to 42 walks in 312 plate appearances versus righties.

Additionally, he’s holding lefties to a .230 average and .615 OPS, compared to marks of .292 and .880, respectively, against right-handed hitters.

The 12-year MLB veteran has started 274 out of his 303 career games. Perhaps his most memorable bullpen appearance came during the 2016 wild-card game when he pitched a scoreless 1.2 innings against the Orioles to collect a win, as the Blue Jays advanced to play the Texas Rangers in the American League Division Series.

Toronto acquired Liriano, along with two prospects, in July 2016 from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for right-hander Drew Hutchison. Liriano’s making $13 million this season, the third in a three-year, $39-million deal he signed with the Pirates in December 2014.

Hernandez joined the Astros organization as an international free agent in 2011, and is their No. 8 prospect, according to Baseball America.

He appeared in 40 MLB games in 2016, slashing .230/.304/.420, with four home runs and 11 RBI.

Aside from a one-game cameo with the Astros, the 24-year-old has spent all of the 2017 season in triple-A Fresno, where he has a .865 OPS in 79 games with 12 home runs.

His first career MLB home run came in his big-league debut off of Liriano on Aug. 12, 2016.

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