Twins Agree To Sign Phil Hughes To 3-Year, $24M Deal
The suddenly active Minnesota Twins and right-handed starter Phil Hughes have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $24M deal. Word broke on Saturday night and was confirmed by the Minnesota Star-Tribune.
Hughes, 27, had a difficult 2013, going 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA across 29 starts for the New York Yankees. The disappointing season came a year after Hughes went 16-13 with a more respectable 4.23 ERA in 2012. Despite his most recent season, Hughes was generally grouped in with the rest of this offseason’s marquee free agent talents – as was Ricky Nolasco, whom the Twins just signed to a four-year, $49M deal earlier in the week.
In 2013, Hughes struggled mightily at Yankee Stadium, where he went 1-10 with a 6.32 ERA. Many assume that all he needed was a change of scenery in order to return to form, something the Twins can now offer him with the spacious confines of Target Field. He joins Nolasco in an evolving Minnesota rotation that was said to be pursuing Bronson Arroyo, though it’d be hard to imagine the team signing Arroyo in addition to Nolasco and Hughes.
The Star Tribune’s article also mentions that Minnesota is working toward signing catcher A.J. Pierzynski from the free agent market as well. The fiery Pierzynski, 36, would be making his return to the Twins, with whom he broke into the big leagues in 1998. Signing Nolasco, Hughes, and perhaps Pierzynski would definitely make a statement for a team that finished 66-96 in 2013. Pierzynksi had a strong 2013 campaign with the Texas Rangers, slashing .272/.297/.425 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs in 134 games for Ron Washington‘s team.
The A.L. Central is generally one of the more wide-open in the league (as the Cleveland Indians proved by nearly winning the division in 2013), and bringing in front-line talent such as the Twins are doing thus far in the offseason would go a long way. The Hughes signing is also another example of how lucrative it is these days to be a moderately reliable starting pitcher.
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