It took a few hours between Chris Cotillo's initial tweet and the one from Jeff Passan announcing the details of the Ricky Nolasco contract, but it finally happened. Courtesy of two Passan tweets, here are the specifics.
Nolasco's option is a club option for 2018 worth $13M. It can vest and turn into a player option based on innings pitched in 2016-17.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) November 28, 2013
Here's what that looks like.
|Year||Contract||Nolasco's Age||Salary||Twins Total Payroll Commitments **|
As of this morning, the only players under contract beyond this season are Joe Mauer, Glen Perkins, and Ricky Nolasco. Outside of Perkins' buyout in '16, it's just Mauer and Nolasco. This should tell you two things.
- Even if the Twins add another one or two multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts to the roster this winter, they still have a great deal of payroll flexibility in coming years.
- The Twins fully anticipate Nolasco being one of the rotation's leaders, and being one of the players who will shoulder the load in turning Minnesota from laughing stock to competitor.
According to fWAR (FanGraphs' version of Wins Above Replacement), it looks like Nolasco is a good bet to be worth the money the Twins are paying him. For what it's worth, in the last six years Matt Garza accumulated just 15.9 fWAR.
In that same time frame, Nolasco's cumulative "open market" value averaged $14.4 million per season. Even for the biggest free agent signing in franchise history, it's possible to see this as a below market value deal for Minnesota.
There is certainly risk in any long-term free agent contract, and that risk seems to be more pronounced for pitchers. While this contract is certainly comparable to the one signed by Edwin Jackson in January 2013 (four years, $52 million) and Mark Buerhle in December 2011 (four years, $58 million), Nolasco is two years younger than Buehrle at the time of his signing and he's also far less volatile of a pitcher than Jackson. As far as consistency can be taken in the world of pitchers, Nolasco doesn't do too badly.