Twins agree to three-year, $24M deal with Phil Hughes

By Mike Axisa | Baseball Writer

The Twins have added another free agent starter to their rotation, this time Phil Hughes.
The Twins have added another free-agent starter to their rotation, this time Phil Hughes. (USATSI)

The Twins and free-agent right-hander Phil Hughes have agreed to a three-year contract worth $24 million, Jon Heyman confirms. Hughes is expected to take his physical in the coming days.

Hughes, 27, was by far the youngest free agent starter on the market. He went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA (78 ERA+) and a 2.88 K/BB in 145 2/3 innings across 29 starts and one relief appearance for the Yankees in 2013. Just a year ago he went 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA (100 ERA+) and a 3.59 K/BB in 191 1/3 innings, so the Twins are clearly hoping he'll bounce back starting next season.

Tiny Yankee Stadium is pretty much the worst possible ballpark for Hughes, who is one of baseball's most extreme fly ball pitchers. During the past four years, his 33.0 percent ground ball rate is the third lowest among pitchers to throw at least 500 innings. Target Field, meanwhile, was the second hardest AL park to hit a home run in this past season, trailing only the O.co Coliseum in Oakland.

The Twins gave Ricky Nolasco a four-year, $49 million contract earlier this week, so they haven't been shy about spending money to rebuild their rotation. Hughes and Nolasco will join the incumbent Kevin Correia in the starting five, with guys like Samuel Deduno, Andrew Albers, Scott Diamond and Liam Hendriks competing for the final two spots.

News of the signing was first reported by LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune.

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