The Twins waited 22 days into the free agency period to get things rolling. After a 66-96 season, the Twins wanted to focus on starting pitching. So far, so good, as they signed two starters that can provide the support the Twins are looking for. Hopefully, this is just the beginning of the Twins’ signings with the Winter Meetings being held this week in Florida. So, without further ado, here are your newest Twins starters.
On November 27, the Twins and starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco agreed to a four-year, $49 million deal with a fifth-year option. Nolasco, who pitched for Miami and Los Angeles last year, has a good track record in the majors. Nolasco, who made his major league debut in 2001 with Florida, has a career record of 89-75 with a 4.37 ERA. He has 1,076 strikeouts and 9 complete games. Nolasco finished strong last season after being traded to the Dodgers, as he went 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 starts. Nolasco has not had many injuries throughout his career, so he should be very durable in the rotation.
Four days later, the Twins announced another major signing. Former Yankee (yes, a Yankee!) Phil Hughes agreed to a three-year, $24 million deal. A Yankee since coming into the league in 2007, Hughes struggled last year, posting an ERA of 5.19 with only 4 wins. But, Hughes has also been dynamite in the past as he won 15+ games in both 2008 and 2010. During his career, Hughes has struck out a total of 656 batters, with a record above .500. An All-Star in 2010, Hughes has two complete games in his career. Hughes could be the number 1 starter for the Twins if he performs like he did in 2010.
There are other pitchers still available that the Twins have contacted. It will be interesting to follow the Twins during the Winter Meetings, as they are trying to find more starting pitching and a catcher. As we head into the next week, keep in mind the two catchers who the Twins were interested in (A.J. Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia) signed elsewhere. However, there is a report that the Twins have contacted catcher John Buck’s agent. Plus, starter Bronson Arroyo is still up for grabs.
Written by: Michael L. Sack