We popped over to Target Field this afternoon for Ricky Nolasco's introductory news conference with the Twins. According to the official press release, he has a four-year contract at $12 million per season every year from 2014-17 and a club option with the potential to vest in 2018.
*It sounded like Nolasco really enjoyed pitching for the Dodgers in the pennant race last season, when he was 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA. He has a lot of family in California and that was a major boost for him, he said. That will obviously not be the case in Minnesota, where he had never been before pitching for the Marlins at Target Field last year. He was here in April, when it was brutally cold. In fact, he pitched in a double-header that was part of a makeup for a snow/cold postponement.
*Twins GM Terry Ryan did not think the contract was a departure from the Twins' philosophy, even though it more than doubled the previous largest free agent deal given out. Ryan pointed out that Joe Mauer's contract isn't exactly chump change. He also said that if the team was still in the Metrodome, this deal likely wouldn't have happened. That said, Ryan made it clear that free agency isn't his preferred method of team-building.
*Ryan also made it sound like the team cast a very wide net in free agency. They liked everything about Nolasco and clearly he was an early target, but he wasn't by any means the only target. It's unclear when the team's deal with Phil Hughes (3 years, $24 million reportedly) will be announced.
*Nolasco was flattered by how much the Twins wanted him. It was also revealed that he has an affinity for muscle cars. Hopefully he'll clock in faster on the radar gun with his pitches than his driving.