The MLB rumors are sure to be flying around the Miami Marlins in the next few weeks after the blockbuster trade with the Toronto Blue Jays raised the white flag for the 2013 season. The Marlins currently have just over $20 million committed to five non-arbitration eligible players for next season but that could change very soon as the Marlins are expected to dump salary.
Next on the block could be right-hander Ricky Nolasco. Nolasco, who will be 30 in December, signed a 3-year, $26.5 million deal which will allow him to hit the free agent market in 2014. Nolasco would make a very nice fourth or fifth starter for a contender, someone who can provide innings and give their team a chance to win each time out.
There are a few teams that might look to acquire Nolasco’s services including the New York Yankees who might be looking for a starter if Hiroki Kuroda signs elsewhere or Andy Pettitte hangs up his cleats again.
The Yankees could afford Nolasco under their new salary guidelines where everything is about getting under the $189 million luxury tax threshold.
Nolasco is similar to Phil Hughes in the respect that the expected level of production doesn’t match the numbers on the field. Nolasco wasn’t expected to be an ace but he was expected to be a middle to possibly a number two starter as he developed. It looked like he was about to live up to expectations in 2008 when he went 15-8 and posted the only sub-4.00 ERA of his career with a 3.52 mark. He also accumulated 212.1 innings and struck out 186 while posting a 1.102 WHIP.
He hasn’t matched those numbers since but Nolasco could anchor the back end of the Yankees rotation if needed. Of course the Yankees would like to re-sign Kuroda but the free agent market is thin and the trade market looks to be competitive outside of Miami. Nolasco could represent the next best option for the Yankees if they lose out on Kuroda and or Pettitte retires. This might be something to keep an eye on.