The Minnesota Twins are making a big splash in the free agency starting pitcher market, agreeing to deals with Ricky Nolasco earlier in the week and Phil Hughes on Saturday.
The Twins were 66-96 last season with one of the worst rotations in MLB history. Their starters combined for a 5.26 ERA and just 4.9 K/9, both ranking by far worst in baseball. Now, they’re adding seasoned firepower to perhaps become a bit more competitive in the American League Central Division.
Nolasco, who turns 31 years old next month, agreed to a four-year $49 million deal, the largest given to a pitcher in Twins franchise history. Nolasco had a good year in 2013 with Miami and the LA Dodgers, posting a 13-11 record with a 3.70 ERA in 34 games. He’s certainly not ace-material, with a 4.30 ERA since 2008, but ranks 24th in baseball in innings pitched during this span. His contract has a vesting option for the 2018 season as well.
Hughes, 27, is reportedly signing a three-year $24 million deal after seven years with the New York Yankees. A buy-low target of many Indians fans, he’s been inconsistent and oft-injured with a 4.65 ERA in 588 innings since 2010, but certainly has a lively arm. He’s a nice bounceback candidate after a disappointing 4-14 season in pinstripes a season ago.
These two signings again cut at the remaining options on the free agency market, with the Indians likely to lose both Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir from their 2013 rotation. The San Francisco Giants also have made huge splashes in re-signing Tim Lincecum and nabbing potential Cleveland target Tim Hudson.
[Related: Hudson to SF – What is the Tribe’s Plan B?]