Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco could possibly be a household name if he weren’t on the roster of one of MLB’s worst teams for the last eight seasons.
But this is 2013, and there was no guarantee that Nolasco would be joining a better team when he was sent packing for the west coast. The Los Angeles Dodgers, one of baseball’s hottest teams at the moment, traded for the right hander over the weekend, sending three pitching prospects to the Miami Marlins in return.
The jury is still out on L.A. trading away three prospects for a pitcher who has yet to prove he has the staying power to compete at a championship level. Nolasco no doubt has the tools, and he is of the right age and experience to make an immediate impact for a team trying to fight its way back into the NL West race.
A large portion of Dodger devotees questioned giving away three prospects for another starting pitcher, but it was a glaring need, mainly in the wake of the demise and possible career end of Josh Beckett.
Beckett was stinking up the joint as the third cog in the Dodger’s rotation. He was following Clayton Kershaw, Chavez Ravine’s reigning king, and the surprising rookie fan fave Hyun-Jin Ryu. It was no place for a high-priced pitcher struggling to regain his form to be in, especially since L.A. owes Beckett a small fortune from his last contract.
None of the rookie arms was going to step in and outdo Beckett, no matter how badly he was doing. Kershaw, Ryu, Zack Greinke and now Nolasco? L.A. manager Don Mattingly could definitely get the boot if his team comes down off the cloud they’re currently on.
No matter. It was actually a perfect trade for that reason alone. Despite inching back towards first place, the time was right for Ned Colletti to pull the trigger on an experienced starter who will thrive on pitching for a team working its way back into contention.