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Report: Phil Hughes agrees to three-year, $24 million deal with Twins

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(USA Today)

The Minnesota Twins attempts to rebuild a porous starting rotation continue according to La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. The longtime Twins scribe reported on Saturday night that free agent right-hander Phil Hughes has agreed to terms with the team on a three-year, $24 million contract.

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.

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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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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