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  • Twins Make Statement With Nolasco Signing

    Looking over the front page of the Star Tribune's sports section on Thanksgiving morning, I couldn't help but notice the irony.

    The top story: Pat Reusse's annual "Turkey of the Year" column, in which the longtime scribe called out Terry Ryan as the top goat in Minnesota sports for the past year.

    Just below, also above the fold, was the headline, "Pitcher Nolasco headed to Twins," with a subhead indicating that the pitcher had been signed to a record $49 million deal.

    Reusse's selection was certainly justified when you look at the last year as a whole. Following a disastrous 2012 season in which the starting rotation was a complete mess, Ryan signed only low-end free agents and wound up with a team that showed no improvement.

    By continuing to rely on the same low-strikeout hurlers while the league has trended more and more toward power arms that can miss bats, Ryan has indeed looked at times like the game has passed him by. Or, as Reusse puts it, a "dinosaur."

    The signing of Nolasco is anything but business as usual for Ryan and the Twins. Not only does the total amount shatter the previous franchise benchmark for an external free agent (Josh Willingham's $21 million contract), but the timing of the move is also telling.

    Aside from Jason Vargas, who inked a weird four-year, $32 million deal with the Royals, Nolasco is the first free agent pitcher to sign a long-term contract (three or more years) this offseason. Rather than waiting for the market to develop, as they've pretty much almost done, the Twins went hard after their top target and made him an offer that convinced him he wasn't going to get more money by waiting around.

    Talk about uncharacteristically splashy.

    To be clear, Nolasco is not an elite pitcher. He's not going to single-handedly turn the team around and he's not likely to be the best member of a good staff. There will be plentiful analysis of his strengths and weaknesses here at Twins Daily in the coming weeks.

    But the bottom line, for now, is this: Outside of Matt Garza, Nolasco was arguably the best pitcher available on the market among those who won't require a draft pick or colossal posting fee to sign. Given the club's reluctance to delve into those areas, Nolasco may have been the best realistic option for the Twins. And Ryan got him signed before Thanksgiving.

    There's more work do be done, but for now, with a large segment of the fan base voicing the same dejection toward the front office as Reusse, this is a loud statement that could have hardly come at a better time.
    This article was originally published in blog: Twins Make Statement With Nolasco Signing started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 28 Comments
    1. ChiTownTwinsFan's Avatar
      ChiTownTwinsFan -
      I'm still very much in the 'wait and see' camp as there certainly needs to be another good piece or two, but this makes me hopeful. As I'm currently in Ft. Myers, and will be again off and on over the next few months, I'm already chomping at the bit for ST.
    1. Briley's Avatar
      Briley -
      Well put Nick, it's more than just the player we got. It shows that the front office is at least conscious of what it requires to get above average free agents and not just taking whatever is left after the dust settles. It's not a complete culture change, but at least we're actually trying.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      the total amount shatter the previous franchise benchmark for an external free agent (Josh Willingham's $21 million contract)
      I've seen this repeated continuously these days
      Isn't the record contract for an internal free agent around $30 million, too? (Puckett & Radke)
      Or am I missing anything? Mauer, Morneau, Santana, Baker (some of those less too) were all extensions. They were never free agents.

      I know I am getting old so it is possible that I have forgotten someone, but I think that the Nolasco contract is a record for a Twins' free agent signing, internal or external
    1. nicksaviking's Avatar
      nicksaviking -
      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      I've seen this repeated continuously these days
      Isn't the record contract for an internal free agent around $30 million, too? (Puckett & Radke)
      Or am I missing anything? Mauer, Morneau, Santana, Baker (some of those less too) were all extensions. They were never free agents.

      I know I am getting old so it is possible that I have forgotten someone, but I think that the Nolasco contract is a record for a Twins' free agent signing, internal or external
      McPhail re-signed Puckett, but I think you're right that his total contract was larger. That may be overlooked as most people wouldn't suspect the team's largest free agent deal actually happend 20 years ago. Radke was also an extension, it happened mid season of 2000.

      I too will admit that Nolasco wasn't a favorite target of mine but I also said I just wanted this front office to prove they were committed to putting a better team on the field. So I am excited about this, the effort was more important to me, and I'm now a Nolasco believer. I think more decent players are coming too.

      I didn't like the Swisher and Bourn signings for Cleveland last year but I said I liked the message it sent. The pageantry that goes into making big splash deals should do wonders for the morale of the fanbase and more importantly the clubhouse.
    1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
      Paul Pleiss -
      "We've got to risk a full power start!" - Captain Kirk then slaps Spock silly. I imagine that this is essentially what Jim Pohlad said and then did to Terry Ryan, or something like that.

      Nolasco is a good start towards bringing this team around to contention.
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Quote Originally Posted by nicksaviking View Post
      McPhail re-signed Puckett, but I think you're right that his total contract was larger. That may be overlooked as most people wouldn't suspect the team's largest free agent deal actually happend 20 years ago. Radke was also an extension, it happened mid season of 2000.
      .
      Puckett's contract was 5/$30.3M. Radke was indeed extended in 2000 but became a free agent in 2004 when he was signed to a 3/$28.75M contract. Puckett retired before his last season so I am not sure which of those 2 can be regarded as the highest FA, because Puckett actually received less $ than Radke. In my book, it is still Puckett.

      Nolasco's is much higher than both.
    1. Kwak's Avatar
      Kwak -
      "There isn't any shortcut to get where we want to go."

      Thank Goodness, we are not following Jeffy anymore to get there. WTG Ryan!--But this is just a start, the Twins must continue on this path.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      As Bob would say , baby steps.....Now that you have Ricky, maybe others will be more willing to listen when there agents approach them with an offer from Terry, Now that you are on a run , sign a couple more quality pitchers (Garza,Kazmir) Navarro and Chavez,And head into the winter meeting only looking to Tweak what you need to ,Like trading away Doumit and a couple others for prospects
    1. Monkeypaws's Avatar
      Monkeypaws -
      Wouldn't it be crazy if the Vanimal rediscovered his mojo, and the Twins could trot out a MLB average rotation? Good start with Nolasco. The Twins need to become relevant again.
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      Ok, now lets sign Hughes or Kashmir, Salty -I can go either way. Then a third basemen that hits lefty.....

      In the words of Kfans Paul Allen - "LETS PLAY!!!"
    1. snepp's Avatar
      snepp -


      Make it happen!
    1. Winston Smith's Avatar
      Winston Smith -
      "Nolasco's is much higher than both. "

      I'm not sure if you compared 1994 $ to 2014 $ it would be much higher at all.

      Average player salaries in 94 were about 1/3 what they are now.
    1. TheLeviathan's Avatar
      TheLeviathan -
      Reusse was absolutely right in his column. That's part of what makes this signing so refreshing.
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      It also makes the team more appealing for he likes of the Garza, Arroyo, Feldman, Hughes etc.. type pitchers. Knowing it isnt 4 junk ballers behind them destined for a 90 loss season definitely enhances the chances of landing a guy like Garza.
    1. orangevening's Avatar
      orangevening -
      Still surprised that Garza would even consider coming here
    1. darin617's Avatar
      darin617 -
      The Twins have not made a statement by signing just 1 pitcher. When they sign at least 1 or 2 more quality arms to go along with Nolasco and Correia then they have have made a statement. Get rid of all the scrubs that tried and were an embarrassment on the mound last season.
    1. Jeremy Nygaard's Avatar
      Jeremy Nygaard -
      I was listening to Power Alley this morning and they repeatedly called Nolasco a #4 starter on a good team. They questioned the length. They questioned the money. But then came full circle at the end when they said, "Who else are they gonna start (chuckles)?" And agreed he's the best pitcher on the staff and they paid the going-rate for a starting pitcher with the ability to go a lot of innings.

      You know what they cite? ERA. It could be worst though, they could cite wins.
    1. johnnydakota's Avatar
      johnnydakota -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy Nygaard View Post
      I was listening to Power Alley this morning and they repeatedly called Nolasco a #4 starter on a good team. They questioned the length. They questioned the money. But then came full circle at the end when they said, "Who else are they gonna start (chuckles)?" And agreed he's the best pitcher on the staff and they paid the going-rate for a starting pitcher with the ability to go a lot of innings.

      You know what they cite? ERA. It could be worst though, they could cite wins.
      Um Jeremy, he is a 3/4 starter on most quality teams, but to us...he looks like Cy Young, Not saying signing Ricky wasnt a very good signing, but is only the 1st step.If we have Mr. Nolasco as our Ace coming out of spring training , Me thinks it will once again be a very long season , unless we catch a lot of breaks
    1. Trevor0333's Avatar
      Trevor0333 -
      Quote Originally Posted by johnnydakota View Post
      Um Jeremy, he is a 3/4 starter on most quality teams, but to us...he looks like Cy Young, Not saying signing Ricky wasnt a very good signing, but is only the 1st step.If we have Mr. Nolasco as our Ace coming out of spring training , Me thinks it will once again be a very long season , unless we catch a lot of breaks
      I think he was more mocking the (Powertrip?) for the stats they were using to judge the deal. I listen to the show fairly regularly & they aren't bad overall but are terrible when it comes to Baseball. Hawkey is one of the most uninformed sports analyzers I have ever listend too.

      It was a solid B to B+ signing. They got a guy they liked for a very fair deal market wise & did so early in the process.
    1. ND-Fan's Avatar
      ND-Fan -
      I believe the Twins are going to sign another pitcher besides Nolasco my bet its Hughes or Garza and I also think they will resign Pelfry also. This would give them staff of like Nolasco, Hughes -?, Pelfry, Correia, and Gibson starting the season and possibly Diamond. With Dudeno, Worley, to fill in if anyone of these would falter. It would also give them a pitcher to trade later in the season for prospect and quality of the prospect would be how well one of the bottom pitchers are pitching. Also we could see Myer enter picture in middle to late summer depending on the season he is having. A funny thing when pitching talent gets better some of these bottom pitchers will get better to from the competition to make the squad. I think by end of season we could see how this team is going to turn the corner because I believe a lot prospects will be called by end of next season. A lot of the names we have had on this team last two years will no longer be with the Twins.
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