Phil Hughes is hoping a change of scenery will help him get his career back on track.
The Minnesota Twins formally announced the signing of the right-handed pitcher to a three-year, $24 million contract on Thursday.
The team and the pitcher agreed to the deal on Saturday.
Hughes was surprised to receive a three-year contract.
“Obviously, the season I had (with the New York Yankees in 2013) was a disaster,” Hughes told the New York Daily News. “Coming into this thing, I was kind of expecting to just rebuild my value with a good year next year somewhere.
“I want to out-perform this deal. The Twins really stepped up for me and I want to repay them for that. I think it’s a good situation all around.“
The 27-year-old will join a revamped Twins starting rotation that includes Ricky Nolasco, who signed a four-year, $49 million contract earlier in the week.
“You always want to go somewhere that you feel like they really want you and that was the case there,“ Hughes said. “Right from the get-go, they were the most aggressive team. The overall fit — the ballpark, the city, pretty much everything about it — just seemed right.“
After going 16-13 with a 4.23 ERA in 2012 with the Yankees, Hughes went 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in 2013, surrendering 170 hits in 145 2/3 innings. He is 56-50 with a 4.54 ERA in his career.
“I’ve played my whole career on a year-to-year basis, so to finally have a little bit of security was really appealing,“ Hughes said. “Obviously, I would have done (a one-year deal) if that was all that was out there, but there was interest from teams about bringing me in long term. That was something I really wanted, so I decided to go in that direction.“
Hughes has allowed only one home run in 21 1/3 innings at Target Field. And he pitched well against the Twins’ four American League Central opponents while he was with the Yankees, going 16-11 with a 3.84 ERA in 37 career outings.
“I know I’ve pitched well in the Central Division in the past,“ Hughes said. “I’ve had a few good starts at Target Field; it’s obviously a bigger stadium than Yankee Stadium, which can’t hurt. But I’m not just counting on the stadium helping me out. I’m 27; I feel I can still improve and get better. That’s more of my focus than just pitching in a bigger ballpark and getting lucky.“