He's not likely to pitch many innings in what remains of the season, and what he does pitch probably won't be significant innings. This move isn't so much about trying to reach the postseason as
- rewarding him for rehabbing his midseason surgery diligently enough to be able to pitch this year;
- establishing that he is indeed sound going into the offseason.
The Twins have some serious sorting to do among their starting candidates this winter. Nolasco, Ervin Santana and Phil Hughes are to get nearly $40 million next year (and the year after that); if healthy and on the roster, they will be in the rotation. None of them were, taking the season as a whole, as effective/helpful as Kyle Gibson and Tommy Milone. That's a full rotation right there, and we haven't accounted for Tyler Duffey, Jose Berrios or Trevor May -- or for the genuine possibility that the fascination with free-agent-to-be Mike Pelfrey has not run its course.
I doubt Nolasco has much trade value right now, and two or three innings of mopup relief in the final 11 games probably won't change that assessment. But knowing that he's sound might make it easier to deal somebody else.
Nolasco is not, as I write this, on the 40-man roster, so even with the expanded active roster somebody has to go to make room, presumably somebody who didn't get a September callup. Eyeballing the roster, my guess is Aaron Thompson will be DFA'd. While I have argued for waiving Oswaldo Arcia, I can't imagine that happened before the organizational meetings.