The big mystery lasted only a handful of minutes.
According to Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish, the Twins have reached agreement on a contract with free agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco. Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports says it’s a four-year, $49 million deal with a club option for the 2018 season, the richest free agent contract in Twins franchise history.
Nolasco, 30, registered a steady 3.70 ERA, 1.21 WHIP and 165/46 K/BB ratio in 199 1/3 innings this past season between the Marlins and Dodgers. He doesn’t fit the recent Minnesota starting pitcher profilewhich is a very good thing for Twins fans.
The Twins had a 4.55 staff ERA in 2013, ranking 29th out of the 30 major league teams.
They were the only big league club to finish with fewer than 1,000 total strikeouts.
The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.
Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.
Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.