The Miami Marlins were looking to shop their second best starting pitcher, Ricky Nolasco, in order to lighten their financial burden. With new ownership in place, throwing cash around was not a huge issue for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the final year of his contract, Nolasco still had approximately $5.5 million due to him from the Marlins who were hoping to get as much as possible for the 6-2 right-hander. The team wanted to get some pitching prospects along with being released from Nolasco’s contract.
The other two teams who were in the running to nab Nolasco were the Texas Rangers and the Dodgers’ divisional foes, the Colorado Rockies. The Rangers had the cash flow available to buy up Nolasco’s contract, but did not have the same talent pool available. The Rockies, on the other hand, did not have the ability to absorb the contract and probably lost out as a result.
The Dodgers had to give up some good talent in order to get the Marlins’ pitcher. The Marlins wanted and got three minor-league pitchers out of the Dodger farm system: Steven Ames, Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez. All three of these young, skilled hurlers are a significant loss in terms of prospects, but are not a price the Dodgers organization could not pay. Furthermore, the Dodgers have received extra room for the international signing cap, space the organization values highly.
In return, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly will have another solid starter in his arsenal. Nolasco has a poor record this year, only winning five of his 18 starts. But this is due in large part to the Marlins having the second-worst record in Major League Baseball. Receiving the fourth lowest run support out of any pitcher in baseball – 2.89 runs per game – Nolasco’s decent 3.85 ERA has not been enough to get him the wins he deserves.
The sacrifice of these prospects will bolster the bottom end of a starting rotation that has been an issue for the Dodgers. The Dodgers have started nine different pitchers this season with injuries piling up high. Chad Billingsley went down with an index finger contusion only to return and reinjure himself. He had season-ending surgery at the end of April.
Veteran starter Ted Lilly has been placed on the 15-day DL on three separate occasions this season. He is finally rehabbing and will hopefully return to the starting rotation soon.
Nolasco is a needed and welcomed addition to the Dodgers’ pitching staff and will be put to use almost immediately. His purchase comes at a relatively small price to the Dodgers who were able to steal him away from a desperate Miami organization.
This trade moves the Dodgers one step closer to being a legitimate contender for a playoff spot. However, in order to truly succeed, they will need to shore up a very week bullpen. Look for more transactions to be made in that department before the July 31 trade deadline.