The reported agreement comes three days after Minnesota locked up right-hander Ricky Nolasco on a four-year, $49 million deal to anchor a rotation that finished dead last in ERA (5.21) last season. At this point, Hughes figures to slot into Minnesota's top three with Nolasco and a returning Kevin Correia, though the Twins are still expected to pursue other starting options through free agency and trades.
Hughes, 27, never really lived up to high expectations during his seven year run with the New York Yankees, though he did make an all-star appearance in 2010. From there, he alternated up and down seasons, finishing a disappointing 2013 season with a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts and one relief appearance. The Twins, who once pursued Hughes in a potential Johan Santana trade, are obviously hoping he can return to his even year form (4.19 ERA in 2010, 4.23 in 2012) or even better in 2014.
Moving him into a more pitcher friendly ballpark like Target Field should improve their odds.
Phil Hughes since 2010: 93 home runs allowed in 582.2 innings Adam Wainwright's career: 94 home runs allowed in 1,314.2 innings
— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) December 1, 2013
Needless to say, Yankee Stadium is not a good fit for the pitcher with the lowest ground ball rate (33 percent) in MLB over the past four seasons.
Like the Nolasco signing, Hughes' new deal is sure to be met with mixed reviews when viewed from the Twins perspective. It's a good chunk of money to invest, especially for a team that had never exceeded three-years, $21 million with any free agent prior to Nolasco's deal, but it doesn't figure to be crippling either if he completely falls apart. The Twins desperately needed the upgrades in their rotation, so the potential reward for them clearly outweighs the risk.
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