December 9, 2015

Report: Twins trying to trade pitcher Ricky Nolasco

Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco, who has been a disappointment for the Twins, apparently is the subject of trade talks, according to the Pioneer Press.

Trade destinations include the San Diego Padres for pitcher James Shields, or the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Matt Garza. That would make for an interesting swap because the Twins drafted Garza in 2005 and then traded him in 2007 to the Tampa Bay Rays in a deal that brought Delmon Young to Minnesota.

Dumping Nolasco seems like the right move because it’s hard to envision much improvement from him over the next two seasons after two injury-plagued ones. The Twins signed Nolasco to a four-year, $49 million deal, following the 2013 season. Since then he has won 11 games with an ERA of 5.64.

The Padres are motivated to deal Shields to get out from under their own longterm contract, according to the Pioneer Press story. Beyond that, I’m not sure this deal makes much sense for the Padres because they would not be getting equivalent value in Nolasco.

Shields finished the 2015 campaign with a winning record (13-7) while pitching 200 or more innings for the ninth straight season. Nolasco has been nowhere near as durable, pitching 196 innings over the two previous seasons combined.

And what would the Twins be gaining by getting Garza again? Not much because he won only six games last season with an ERA similar to Nolasco’s at 5.63.

The Twins also took a run at Garza two seasons ago, according to the Pioneer Press story, offering him $42 million over three seasons. Garza elected to sign with the Brewers.

Some career totals for all three pitchers:

-Ricky Nolasco: 100-89 with an ERA of 4.54 over 10 seasons.

-James Shields: 127-97 with an ERA of 3.91 over 10 seasons.

-Matt Garza: 81-89 with an ERA of 3.99 over 10 seasons.

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.