Thanks-givings, indeed! After adding Ricky Nolasco earlier this week to a record-setting $49 million dollar free agent contract, the spending frenzy continued. Terry Ryan and company have reportedly reached an agreement with Phil Hughes on a three year deal, worth an expected 24 million dollars. Hats off to TR for staying away from the tryptophan this week, unlike most of us. Having dished out two deals this week, the 2014 Minnesota payroll currently sits at $73 million.
After never being able to live up to his potential of a Top-10 prospect in the short porch of Yankee stadium, Hughes now enters the comfy confines of Target Field. He won just four games last season, dangling a 5.19 ERA in 29 starts. Yet his numbers away from Yankee Stadium told a much different story. As noted earlier this month, the theme of everything seven this season has carried over with Nolasco and now Hughes. The righty owns a career strikeout rate of 7.1 per nine innings as a starter. As a whole, the Twins starters struck out 477 batters in 2013, which was by far the lowest in baseball. Hughes and Nolasco combined for 286 strikeouts last season, which is 60% of the in-house rotation totals.
The Twins passed on Hughes for Glen Perkins in the 2004 MLB draft. His name was also bandied about when Johan Santana was on the chop block in 2007. Hughes has made three starts at Target Field, compiling a 2-1 record with a 2.53 ERA in 21 1/3 innings. He also was winning pitcher in game 3 of the ALDS in 2010, the last time the Twins made the playoffs.
With the winter meetings still on the way, Terry Ryan has already made the big splashes this off-season. Hopefully he's not done yet.