UPDATE - According to Yahoo's Jeff Passan, it is a four year, $49 million contract, with an option for the fifth year at $13 million (with a $1 million buyout).
Nolasco will turn 31 years old in the next two weeks and has spend most of his career with the Marlins. He has posted peripheral numbers (such as a 7.4K/9 strikeout rate and a 2.1 BB/9 walk rate) that suggest he should be better than his 4.37 career ERA. In 2013, while pitching with the Marlins and the Dodgers, he recorded a 3.70 ERA over 199.1 innings between the two teams.
His durability makes him one of the top names on the free agent starting pitching market, a step below Matt Garza, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana, but still in line for a average salary in excess of $10 million. The TwinsCentric Offseason Handbook estimated he would receive a 4-year deal of $52 million. That total would more than double the largest deal the Twins have ever made with a free agent, which was Josh Willingham’s 3-year, $21 million deal two years ago. Indeed, Nolasco represents a significant investment for any MLB team. His contract will likely be one of the top five given to any free agent starting pitcher this year.
For those looking for someone that defies the highly publicized "pitch to contact" philosophy the Twins have embraced, Nolasco would be a step in the right direction. His strikeout rate, while being average for major league baseball, will be at the top of the Twins rotation. And among this group of free agent starters, he was third in overall strikeouts last year, only behind AJ Burnett and Ubaldo Jimenez.
Finally, the likely length of the contract will mean Nolasco is a Twin until at least 2016 and possibly as long as 2018. He represents a financial commitment to anchor the next wave of Twins prospects to their next competitive team. It's not dissimilar to the 4-year, $36 million contract the Twins gave Brad Radke prior to the 2001 season. In fact, I'll be a little surprised if they don't reference that in relation to this signing when they're ready to talk about it.