Minnesota Twins Rumors: Club Trying to Move Ricky Nolasco


The Minnesota Twins are trying to find a trading partner for Ricky Nolasco

Trying is of course the key word here. It’ll be a difficult sell. The Nolasco signing has been a near total disaster for the Twins. Minnesota would need to take on a bad contract in return. Chris Cotillo reported the news late Monday night.

Nolasco signed a 4 year, 49 million dollar deal with the Minnesota Twins in 2014. His two seasons here have been plagued with injuries, bad luck and plain old poor pitching. Nolasco only threw 37.1 IP this past year and posted an ugly 6.75 ERA and 1.714 WHIP. However, his 3.51 FIP suggests (in a small sample) positive regression. As a Twin, in total, his ERA is 5.64, 1.553 WHIP and 4.15 FIP. For his career he’s always looked much better by FIP than by ERA (3.81 FIP to 4.54 ERA), so one shouldn’t expect that to change. But as a Twin, the gap between his ERA and FIP has been much larger than that career norm. So, it is fair to suggest that Ricky has been the victim of some terrible luck. His .392 BABIP in 2015 and .351 BABIP in 2014 versus his career .314 BABIP confirm that possibility. 

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In short, there are ways to spin Nolasco somewhat positively. Perhaps all he really needs is a change of scenery.

Nolasco’s struggles can be compared to Toronto’s Drew Hutchison. Hutchison, like Nolasco, struggled immensely, lost his rotation spot but maintained good peripherals. Both are strong candidates for a return to their norms. The difference with Hutchison is that he costs a whole lot less than Nolasco. Unlike Toronto and Hutchison, Ricky’s contract gives the Twins much less flexibility to mitigate his struggles.

The Padres are a potential dance partner for the Twins because they too are trying to move some pitchers. Chris Cotillo mentions Tyson Ross and James Shields as possibilities. A trade for Ross would be much harder to orchestrate as Ross costs quite a bit less than Nolasco, is better currently and has a much brighter future. The Twins would have to sweeten the pot significantly. Shields is a more plausible option. Although he costs a lot more than Nolasco and had a down season, he had a much better season than Ricky and has been extremely durable (200 IP in every season since 2007). The Twins would likely still need to put something more on the table in the Shields scenario as well.

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It’ll take some creative maneuvering to be realized for sure—Especially if the trade partner is the Padres. As shown last offseason, San Diego is incredibly unpredictable.