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|Posted: Mon Dec 22nd, 2014 09:22 pm||
|When the Minnesota Twins signed free-agent pitcher Phil Hughes last winter, they were hoping they landed a No. 1 arm. After pitching to the best results of his career, it appears the Twins found what they're looking for.
Hughes was rewarded for his efforts Monday, reportedly agreeing to a three-year, $42-million extension that keeps the right-hander in Minnesota through the 2019 season.
Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News reports the extension supersedes his current deal - which called for $16 million over the next two seasons - to essentially give him a new five-year, $58-million contract.
2014 (AL Rank)
The deal represents the largest contract the franchise has ever awarded a pitcher and reportedly includes a limited no-trade clause and $1 million in incentives. It also marks the second significant transaction of the offseason for Minnesota's pitching staff.
Last month the Twins inked free-agent right-hander Ervin Santana to a four-year, $55-million pact - the richest free-agent contract in team history.
Under terms of the new agreement, Hughes will now earn $9.2 million in each of the next two years, followed by salaries of $13.2 million during the 2017-19 seasons.
The 28-year-old is coming off a record-setting 2014 that saw him establish an all-time best 11.63 strikeout-to-walk rate. His career year also included personal bests as a starter in strikeouts, innings, ERA, WHIP, FIP and WAR. Hughes issued just 16 walks in 32 starts.
Hughes's historic year capped a remarkable turnaround for the former top prospect who was drafted with the 23rd overall pick by the New York Yankees in 2004.
The 6-foot-5 right-hander failed to live up to lofty expectations in the Bronx, suffering through an inconsistent seven seasons plagued by injuries and frequent minor-league demotions. Prior to making the jump to pitcher-friendly Target Field, Hughes owned a pedestrian 4.53 ERA and 1.32 career WHIP with a K:BB ratio of just 3.23.
What a difference a change of scenery makes.
Hughes worked through a rocky April to provide his finest season to date, posting a 2.97 ERA during the second half to secure a seventh-place finish in Cy Young voting. He turned out to be even better on the road - 2.78 ERA compared to a 4.25 mark at home - and his 2.65 FIP was the lowest result by a Twins starting pitcher in 40 years.