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The Sports Xchange, Published November 28 2013

Twins agree to terms with pitcher Ricky Nolasco

MINNEAPOLIS – On most teams, Ricky Nolasco would be a solid, back-of-the-rotation pitcher.

With the Minnesota Twins, Nolasco might be an ace.

The free agent right-hander and the Twins reached a contract agreement late Wednesday night, according to multiple media reports.

Yahoo Sports reported that the four-year deal was for $49 million. The Twins would hold a $13 million club option for 2018, but based on the number of innings Nolasco pitches in 2016-17, he could turn it into a player option.

The deal is not finalized, as Nolasco has to pass a physical. While the team did not make an announcement, Nolasco changed the icon on his Twitter account to the Twins’ logo.

According to MLB.com, the contract would be the richest the Twins ever gave a free agent, topping the $21 million, three-year contract outfielder Josh Willingham signed in December 2011.

Nolasco started at least 31 games in five of the past six seasons, showing the kind of durability that would make him a key cog in a previously shaky Minnesota rotation.

Nolasco, 30, opened last season with the Miami Marlins, then was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in July for three prospects. He went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 18 starts for Miami, 8-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) for Los Angeles.

Entering the postseason, Nolasco was the Dodgers’ fourth starter, but manager Don Mattingly passed him by in the National League Division Series against the Atlanta Braves. Instead, Mattingly used ace left-hander Clayton Kershaw in Game 4, and Kershaw got the win to close out the series.

Nolasco finally made his postseason debut in the NL Championship Series. He lost Game 4 to the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing three runs in four innings. St. Louis went on to win the series in six games.

Before the July trade, Nolasco pitched 7½ seasons with the Marlins. He has a career 89-75 record with a 4.37 ERA in 229 games (212 starts).