Veteran righthander Nolasco headed to Twins

  • Article by: PHIL MILLER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 28, 2013 - 11:20 AM

In need of starting pitching, the team gave the righthander a record $49 million deal.


Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco throws during the first inning of Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013, in Los Angeles.

Photo: Jeff Gross, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

The rebuilding of the Twins’ starting rotation has begun, and Dodgers free agent Ricky Nolasco is part of the foundation.

The righthander, who won 89 games in 7½ seasons with the Marlins and three months with the Dodgers, agreed to the richest free-agent contract in Twins history, a $49 million package over four years, a team official confirmed on the condition he not be identified.

Nolasco, who turns 31 next month, will earn $12 million each season from 2014 to ’17, with the Twins holding an option on 2018 for $13 million, or a $1 million buyout. The 2018 option becomes Nolasco’s if he pitches a certain number of innings in 2017.

In both length and value, Nolasco’s contract is the biggest commitment the Twins have ever made to a player from outside their organization, easily eclipsing the three-year, $21 million pact that outfielder Josh Willingham signed two winters ago.

Word of Nolasco’s contract was first reported by the website, and the pitcher seemed to confirm the news himself a few minutes later, when he changed the avatar on his Twitter account to a Twins “TC” logo.

Nolasco joins lefthander Scott Diamond and righthanders Kevin Correia and Samuel Deduno in the Twins’ projected 2014 rotation, with several candidates — including other free agents that the Twins have approached this month — for the fifth slot. Several media reports have linked the team to free agents such as righthanders Matt Garza, Philip Hughes and Bronson Arroyo. In addition, according to, the Twins have offered a two-year contract to righthander Mike Pelfrey, their own free agent.

The Twins starting rotation was the worst in the majors last season, posting a combined ERA of 5.26, nearly a half-run worse than next-worst Toronto’s 4.81. Only four pitchers contributed as many as 100 innings, with Correia by far the leader at 185, and only Deduno (3.83) had an ERA below 4.00.

So the Twins set out this winter to upgrade that staff with at least two new pitchers, and durability was considered a primary asset. “It’s no secret that we need guys to give us innings. Our starters didn’t do the job last year, and that piled too many innings on our bullpen,” General Manager Terry Ryan, who was unavailable for comment Wednesday, said earlier this month. “We need more innings.”

In Nolasco, they might have found some. A fourth-round draft pick by the Cubs in 2001, he has pitched at least 185 innings in five of the last six seasons, posting a career ERA of 4.37. His only stint on the disabled list during that time was for a torn ligament in his knee, not an arm injury.

Nolasco was 13-11 with a 3.70 ERA in 2013 overall and responded well to the pressure of a pennant race after being traded to the Dodgers for three minor leaguers on July 6. He went 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA over the final three months of the season, though he was the losing pitcher — giving up three runs in four innings against St. Louis — in his only postseason start. also reported that the Twins are discussing a contract with free-agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to fill the position left vacant when Joe Mauer announced he is moving to first base.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Baltimore 2 FINAL
Detroit 15
NY Yankees 5 FINAL
Philadelphia 5
Northeastern 1 FINAL
Boston 2
Miami-Fla 1 FINAL
Miami 7
Pittsburgh 8 FINAL
Toronto 7
San Francisco 4 FINAL
Oakland 9
Cleveland 0 FINAL
Cincinnati 10
Boston College 0 FINAL
Boston 1
Arizona State 0 FINAL
Arizona 4
Boston 79 FINAL
Cleveland 110
LA Lakers 103 FINAL
Charlotte 104
Sacramento 124 FINAL
New York 86
Houston 96 FINAL
Atlanta 104
Utah 93 FINAL
Memphis 82
Washington 92 FINAL
Chicago 97
Milwaukee 95 FINAL
Denver 106
Nashville 1 FINAL
New Jersey 3
Calgary 3 FINAL(OT)
Philadelphia 2
Washington 5 FINAL
Columbus 3
Buffalo 0 FINAL
Tampa Bay 3
Toronto 3 FINAL
Florida 2
Ottawa 2 FINAL(SO)
Minnesota 3
NY Islanders 2 FINAL(OT)
Dallas 3
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Arizona 1
Los Angeles 5 3rd Prd 3:47
Edmonton 2
San Jose 4 3rd Prd
Vancouver 2
Ole Miss 82 FINAL
Alabama 74
Eastern Mich 67 FINAL
Ball State 60
Kent State 81 FINAL
Bowling Green 80
Ohio 66 FINAL
Buffalo 93
Georgetown 60 FINAL
Butler 54
Toledo 77 FINAL
Central Mich 85
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
Dayton 75
Youngstown St 67 FINAL
Detroit 77
North Carolina 81 FINAL
Georgia Tech 49
Loyola-Maryland 45 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Iowa 77 FINAL
Indiana 63
Akron 63 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 70
Army 52 FINAL
Navy 56
Maryland 60 FINAL
Rutgers 50
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
USC Upstate 90
Jacksonville 63 FINAL
Fla Gulf Coast 81
Lipscomb 76 FINAL
Northern Ky 73
Stetson 67 FINAL
North Florida 81
Wright State 57 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 60
Western Mich 63 FINAL
Northern Ill 65
Nebraska Omaha 80 FINAL
North Dakota 78
Houston Baptist 71 FINAL
Abilene Christian 83
NC State 66 FINAL
Clemson 61
Texas A&M 62 FINAL
Florida 66
Kentucky 72 FINAL
Georgia 64
West Virginia 69 1st OT 0:04
Kansas 76
Auburn 61 FINAL
Missouri 63
Michigan 78 FINAL
Northwestern 82
Villanova 76 FINAL
Creighton 72
Longwood 55 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 63
Charleston Southern 39 FINAL
Presbyterian 47
Coastal Carolina 54 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 68
UMass Lowell 60
West Virginia 55 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Texas 79
Fresno State 61 FINAL
Air Force 41
San Jose St 76 FINAL
Boise State 91
Nevada 61 FINAL
Colorado State 68
San Diego State 76
Wyoming 61 FINAL
Utah State 57
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Which Twins player are you most interested in during spring training?

Weekly Question