Twins agree to terms with pitchers Nolasco, Hughes
In a span of three days, the Minnesota Twins revamped their rotation.
Free agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco and the Twins reached a contract agreement Nov. 27, according to multiple media reports. Yahoo Sports reported that Nolasco’s four-year deal would have a $49 million value. The Twins would hold a $13 million club option for 2018, but based on the number of innings Nolasco pitches in 2016-17, he could turn it into a player option.
Three days later, free agent right-hander Phil Hughes and the Twins agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported.
Neither deal is finalized, as both pitchers must pass a physical.
According to MLB.com, Nolasco’s contract would be the richest the Twins ever gave a free agent, topping the $21 million, three-year contract outfielder Josh Willingham signed in December 2011.
Nolasco started at least 31 games in five of the past six seasons, durability that would make him a key cog in a previously shaky Minnesota rotation.
Nolasco, 30, opened last season with the Miami Marlins, then was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July for three prospects. He went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 18 starts for Miami, 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for Los Angeles.
Entering the postseason, Nolasco was the Dodgers’ fourth starter, but manager Don Mattingly passed him by in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Instead, Mattingly used ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw in Game 4, and Kershaw got the win to close out the series.
Nolasco finally made his postseason debut in the NL Championship Series. He lost Game 4 to the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing three runs in four innings. St. Louis went on to win the series in six games.
Before the July trade, Nolasco pitched 7 1/2 seasons with the Marlins. He has a career 89-75 record with a 4.37 ERA in 229 games (212 starts).
Hughes, 27, struggled with the New York Yankees last season, posting a 4-14 record with a 5.19 ERA in 145 2/3 innings (29 starts, one relief appearance).
A year earlier, Hughes had a 16-13 record with a 4.23 ERA in 191 1/3 innings.