According to Chris Cotillo – and later ostensibly confirmed by the man, himself, on Twitter – the Minnesota Twins have agreed to terms with free agent pitcher Ricky Nolasco. (Great reporting by the young Mr. Cotillo, by the way.)
One of the more attractive arms on the market thanks to consistently good peripherals and a solid 2013 season, Nolasco was made all the more attractive by the fact that he wasn’t tied to draft pick compensation. Terms aren’t yet known, but you can assume it’s going to be a four-year deal for a touch more than the Cubs paid Edwin Jackson. That’s a guess, but an educated one. Anything more than that, and we’ll have seen the continued upward shifting of the market – which, I suppose, is to say I won’t be surprised to be wrong.
From the Cubs’ perspective, Nolasco to the Twins is pretty much an ideal outcome. First of all, the Cubs weren’t believed to be in on Nolasco, so they didn’t lose a potential target here. Further, the Twins were rumored to be in on several of the mid-tier pitching targets the Cubs might go after. Although signing Nolasco doesn’t necessarily remove the Twins completely from that market, it does give them one of the arms they’ve been seeking – and it wasn’t an arm that interested the Cubs. Finally, the Twins aren’t rumored to be involved in any Jeff Samardzija trade talks, meaning that, if the Cubs do decide to trade Samardzija, they didn’t lose a suitor when Nolasco signed. And perhaps there’s a team or two out there that just lost out on Nolasco, and now feel an inch more incentivized to make a serious bid for Samardzija.
Nolasco’s signing comes on the eve of Thanksgiving, and a couple weeks before the Winter Meetings, which is annually the most signing-and-trade-active time of the offseason.