The Minnesota Twins got a much-needed boost to a beleaguered starting rotation as multiple reports indicated Wednesday the team has agreed to terms with free-agent pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who pitched last season for the Marlins and Dodgers.
Chris Cotillo at MLBDailyDish.com first reported the deal.
Nolasco, who turns 31 on Dec. 13, was one of the more-sought-after pitchers on the market, along with Ubaldo Jimenez and Bronson Arroyo. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Nolasco made $11.5 million in 2013 in the final year of a three-year, $26.5 million contract. Nolasco will receive a four-year, $49 millon deal from Minnesota, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Because he became a free agent after being traded in midseason, Nolasco was not eligible to be given a qualifying offer by the Dodgers and thus will not cost the Twins a draft pick.
Although not considered an ace, Nolasco should immediately improve Minnesota’s rotation. Last season with the Marlins and Dodgers, he was 13-11 with a 3.70 ERA and 1.209 WHIP. For his career, Nolasco has a 4.37 ERA and 1.288 WHIP over eight seasons. He has walked only 2.1 batters while striking out 7.4 batters per nine innings over his career.
The Twins ranked second-to-last in the American League last season in ERA (4.55) and WHIP (1.413) and were last in strikeouts per nine innings (6.1).
Minnesota starters struggled all season, posting a 5.26 ERA — worst in the majors — and 1.544 WHIP while allowing opposing hitters a .316 batting average, .372 on-base percentage and .488 slugging percentage.
Nolasco has pitched in the National League his entire career. He was drafted by the Cubs in the fourth round in 2001 and was traded to the Marlins in December 2005. He made his major league debut with the Marlins in 2006 and stayed with the team until being traded to the Dodgers on July 6, 2013.
Nolasco made one postseason start for Los Angeles – the first and only playoff appearance of his career – starting Game 4 of the NLCS and taking the loss while allowing three runs in four innings.