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Suzuki makes Joe Mauer's move to 1B far less painful at a bargain price.
Acquired LHP Sean Gilmartin from Atlanta for C/1B/OF Ryan Doumit
Signed RHP Phil Hughes to a three-year, $24 million deal
Signed RHP Ricky Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal
Signed C Kurt Suzuki to a one-year, $2.75 million deal
Where's the Value?
The Minnesota Twins needed pitching and got just that this winter, landing a solid innings-eating veteran in Nolasco for a more than reasonable price and a major bounce-back candidate in Hughes.
Nolasco is really a solid No. 3 starter masquerading as an ace in Minnesota, but he'll give the Twins 200 innings a year and keep the team in games until he turns the ball over to a talented relief corps.
The prize of this winter's spending spree, however, very well could be Hughes.
A fly-ball pitcher, the 27-year-old was victimized by his surroundings at Yankee Stadium, where he pitched to a 6.32 ERA and 1.55 WHIP, allowing 17 bombs over 78.1 innings. Away from the Bronx, he pitched to a 3.88 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, allowing seven home runs in just over 67 innings of work.
Owner of a career 2.53 ERA and 0.94 WHIP over 21.1 innings at Target Field, Hughes still has some upside and has a chance to reach his potential now that he's away from the pressure of playing for the Yankees, where, as a former top prospect, expectations for him were consistently through the roof.
Having a chance to sign an experienced pitcher under the age of 30 who still has some upside for $8 million a season is unheard of in today's game.
Gilmartin, 23, battled shoulder tendinitis and an assortment of other ailments in 2013, leading to a less-than-stellar Triple-A debut, but he remains a southpaw with some upside, one with a ceiling of a solid No. 3 or above-average No. 4 starter in a big league rotation.
For a minimal cost, the Twins have ensured that the transition from Joe Mauer to 24-year-old Josmil Pinto behind the plate will be far less painful with Suzuki's presence on the roster. An excellent defensive catcher and game-caller, it would be nearly impossible for him to not exceed his $2.5 million salary, regardless of what he produces at the plate.