Liriano, 34, was 6-7 with a 5.66 ERA last season. He made 18 starts for Toronto and 20 relief appearances with World Series champion Houston, which acquired him at the July 31 trade deadline. He is 102-99 in a 12-year big league career.
Tigers general manager Al Avila said it has not been decided whether Liriano will start or pitch in relief.
“He told us he would like to start but if we needed him to work out of the bullpen, he would do that also,” Avila said. “We do have some question marks. It’s good to know you have a versatile guy that’s very experienced.”
The deal came after the Tigers watched Liriano throw off a mound in Miami. It was announced Friday during Detroit’s 3-1 loss to the New York Yankees, the Tigers’ first exhibition of the year against a big league opponent.
Liriano pitched in Minnesota from 2006-12, a time when new Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire managed the Twins.
“He’s a great kid,” Gardenhire said. “Just fantastic. He’ll fit in perfect here. He’s a worker.”
Liriano can earn $1 million in performance bonuses based on starts.
To clear a roster spot for Liriano, the Tigers designated left-handed pitcher Jairo Labourt for assignment.