Twins agree to four-year, $49 million pact with free agent right-hander Ricky Nolasco

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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.

Pitch clock cut minor league games by 25 minutes to 2:38

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NEW YORK — Use of pitch clocks cut the average time of minor league games by 25 minutes this year, a reduction Major League Baseball hopes is replicated when the devices are installed in the big leagues next season.

The average time of minor league games dropped to 2 hours, 38 minutes in the season that ended Wednesday, according to the commissioner’s office. That was down from 3:03 during the 2021 season.

Clocks at Triple-A were set at 14 seconds with no runners on base and 19 with runners. At lower levels, the clocks were at 18 seconds with runners.

Big league nine-inning games are averaging 3:04 this season.

MLB announced on Sept. 9 that clocks will be introduced in the major leagues next year at 15 seconds with no runners and 20 seconds with runners, a decision opposed by the players’ association.

Pitchers are penalized a ball for violating the clock. In the minors, violations decreased from an average of 1.73 per game in the second week to 0.41 in week 24.

There will be a limit of two pickoff attempts or stepoffs per plate appearance, a rule that also was part of the minor league experiment this season. A third pickoff throw that is not successful would result in a balk.

Stolen bases increased to an average of 2.81 per game from 2.23 in the minors this year and the success rate rose to 78% from 68%.

Many offensive measurements were relatively stable: runs per team per game increased to 5.13 from 5.11 and batting average to .249 from .247.

Plate appearances resulting in home runs dropped to 2.7% from 2.8%, strikeouts declined to 24.4% from 25.4% and walks rose to 10.5% from 10.2%. Hit batters remained at 1.6%.