There have been reports circulating since Wednesday afternoon that the Twins and right-handed pitcher Carlos Enrique “Ricky” Nolasco have agreed on a four-year deal for $48 million deal that supposedly also has an option $13 million for a fifth season based on innings pitched in 2016-2017 or the Twins can buy out Nolasco after four years for $1 million. The financial specifics of this deal are not clear as yet and the Twins have had no comment on the reported signing. Regardless of how the final contract numbers come out, this is by far the most the Twins have ever paid a free agent to play in Minnesota.
The soon to be 31 year-old (December 31) Nolasco was a fourth round pick by the Chicago Cubs in 2001 and worked his way up the Cubs chain before being traded to he Florida Marlins in a December 2005 trade for Juan Pierre. Nolasco debuted with the Marlins in 2006 and put up a 11-11 record in 22 starts. An arm injury limited to Nolasco to just four starts in 2007 but since then Nolasco has stayed relatively healthy and has had 26 or more starts each season for the Marlins until they traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers this past July.
Nolasco reportedly throws six pitches: a four-seam fastball, a sinker, a splitter, a slider, a curveball along with a slow curveball. The 6’2″ 220 pounder apparently is not afraid to pitch inside as he hit 10 batters this past season and eight the year before. His consistency and experience should help the Twins pitching staff immensely. Nolasco has always worn the number 47 and that number was last worn by none other than Francisco Liriano. Kudos to the Twins organization for this addition.
Hopefully Terry Ryan has not yet put his checkbook into his back pocket and is still looking to add another starting pitcher through hook or crook and if I were to venture a guess I think it might come through a trade. One thing I hope the Twins do not do is spend money on the over-rated free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. For most of his career Salty was known for his hitting and his catching skills left a lot to be desired, not that he is a free agent all of a sudden he is reported to have good catching skills, I haven’t seen them. The Twins don’t need another catcher that can’t catch.
UPDATE December 3 – The Twins made it official today when they announced that they have signed free agent right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco to a four-year contract with a club option that could vest in 2018. Nolasco will earn a guaranteed $12 million salary in each year of the contract (2014-2017). There is a clause that states that if Nolasco pitches 400 innings between 2016 and 2017 he will earn another $13 million for 2018.