Weeks of rumors came to an end late last night, as the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins finally completed a heavily speculated deal that shipped right-hander Ricky Nolasco to Southern California. Nolasco will join the team he grew up rooting for while the Dodgers hope to claw their way back in the surprisingly competitive NL West. Miami will receive a trio of pitching prospects in return and some additional cap room as they won’t have to pay any of Nolasco’s remaining salary.
Nolasco goes from being the veteran leader in a young Marlins rotation to the middle of a Dodgers rotation that has thus far underperformed. He’s made 18 starts and thrown 112.1 IP on the year thus far, posting a 5-8 mark and 3.85 ERA to go along with a 1.220 WHIP. Much of his value comes in his durability. He’s topped 180.0 IP in four of the last five seasons and is on pace to top 200.0 IP this year for the third time in his career. He’s never been overly dominant, but he’s been steady enough that there were numerous team to express serious interest in acquiring his services for the remainder of the season. Nolasco will be a free agent following the World Series unless the Dodgers work out an extension with him beforehand. They will reportedly cover the entire $5.5 Million remaining on his contract from 2013.
The 30 year old has spent his entire career to date with the Marlins since arriving in the Major Leagues (he’d been drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 2001 and traded to Miami in 2005) and departs leading the organization in wins (with 81, next closest is Dontrelle Willis with 68), losses (72, next closest is again Willis with 54), games started (197, Willis had 162), innings pitched (1225.2, Willis threw 1022.2) and strikeouts (1001, Josh Johnson’s 832 are next).
Los Angeles also receives one of Miami’s international signing bonus slots, believed to be valued at $197,000.
Heading back to Miami in return are three minor league pitchers – Angel Sanchez, Steve Ames, and Josh Wall – none of whom ranked among Los Angeles’ top tier of prospects entering the season. All three are right-handers and only Wall has seen any time in the Major Leagues to date.
Sanchez is generally viewed as the one with the most upside from within the group. The 23 year old has spent most of the year repeating a level, making 14 starts for Class-A Great Lakes in which he’s gone 2-7 with a 4.88 ERA and 1.500 WHIP over 72.0 IP. He’d spent 2011 at the level, making his professional debut there before being bumped up to High-A Rancho Cucamonga last season. He’s said to have a lively fastball, but inconsistencies with his other pitches could push him into a relief role long term.
Ames and Wall are both far closer to helping Miami. Ames is in his first season at Triple-A and has not seen good results, posting career highs in ERA (3.67) and WHIP (1.689) in 34.1 IP. He’s served as a closer throughout much of his minor league career but likely profiles in more of a setup role should he reach the Majors. He’ll need to harness his control (walked a career worst 3.4 BB/9 this season) before a callup would be a consideration, however. As for Wall, he’s seem similar control issues in brief callups with Los Angeles last year and this. He too has struggled at Triple-A this season, posting a 5.60 ERA and 1.573 WHIP in 27.1 IP. Should they manage to turn things around it’s conceivable that both could potentially see some time in Miami as September callups.