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Fantasy Baseball Today

Were Fantasy owners as desperate as Minnesota for pitching on Draft Day?

By Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com

Desperation is a motivator for both baseball franchises and Fantasy owners. It can result in questionable decisions. The difference is that those mistakes don't cost Fantasy owners millions of bucks.

Welcome to the 2014 Minnesota Twins. Their pathetic starting staff last season prompted them to sign free agents Ricky Nolasco and Phil Hughes to $73 million worth of contracts during the offseason. The early returns have been disastrous and somewhat predictable.

It was as if the team was telling its fan base that it would be proactive come hell or high water. So it paid big bucks for two pitchers that have spent most of their recent years watching line drives slamming against or clearing outfield walls.

The Twins handed Nolasco a four-year deal for $49 million based on a decent 2013 that apparently had them dismissing the fact that he's been terrible after 2008. He had not produced an earned run average under 4.51 from 2009 to 2012. Nolasco has been awful in two starts as the new Minnesota ace. He has given up 17 hits in 10 innings with six walks, five strikeouts and an ERA of 9.00.

More of a reach was Hughes. The Twins gave him three years and $24 million in the belief that his misery in New York last season was the result of the short porch in right in Yankee Stadium that batters consistently reached against him. But Hughes remains a mess. He has surrendered 12 hits, including two home runs, and four walks in 10 innings with a 7.20 ERA. He was almost knocked out in the first inning of his second start Wednesday against Oakland.

One can only hope that few Fantasy owners were seduced on draft day by the money paid and interest shown in Nolasco and Hughes by the Twins, whose starting pitchers are averaging just over five innings per start. They were late-round picks no matter how many years and how many millions they received from a franchise a little too desperate for pitching.

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