Ricky Nolasco Rumors

Rosenthal On Angels, Gibson, LaRoche, Dodgers

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports brings us his latest edition of Full Count this weekend.  Let's take a look inside..

  • There's still a month to go in the regular season, but the Angels are already scouting pitchers they could go after in free agency or in trades.  The needs in the rotation will be less glaring if they re-sign Jason Vargas – that would give them a front four of Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson, Garrett Richards, and Vargas.  The Halos nearly traded Howie Kendrick for a package headlined by the Dodgers' Zach Lee in July and they could pursue something similar with teams deep in young starters this offseason, like the Nationals and Mets.
  • A number of Diamondbacks players are frustrated with manager Kirk Gibson's changing lineups and they relate more with third base coach Matt Williams, but he could leave to manage the Nationals or another club once the season is through.  However, the D'Backs have no plans to replace Gibson with Williams or anyone else.
  • The first base free agent market will be thin this offseason with Justin Morneau, James Loney, and Mike Napoli headlining the class.  The trade market doesn't look much better, but it does have a few options.  Adam LaRoche of the Nationals figures to be among them as they look to move Ryan Zimmerman to first and Anthony Rendon to third.  The Mets' Ike Davis will probably be another and he could benefit from a move to a more hitter-friendly park.
  • The Dodgers will not lack rotation options next offseason – they'll try to re-sign Ricky Nolasco and they'll eventually get Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett back.  The team also has three minor league prospects in Lee, Ross Stripling, and Matt Magill, who figure to pitch at some point in 2014.  The good news is that the Dodgers should be deep enough to give them time to develop.

Dodgers Acquire Ricky Nolasco

After dominating the trade rumor headlines for weeks, Ricky Nolasco has finally found a new team. The Southern California native will get a chance to play for his hometown Dodgers, as the club officially agreed today to acquire the longtime Marlins starter in exchange for a trio of pitching prospects. Headlining the arms coming to Miami is young righty Angel Sanchez, who is joined by right-handed relievers Steve Ames and Josh Wall.  

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Along with Nolasco, the Dodgers will receive the rights to international signing bonus slot number 96, which carries a $197k bonus allocation. (Click here to see how the international slot system works in practice.) Los Angeles will also take on all of the approximately $5.5MM remaining on Nolasco’s contract.

Barring an extension, Nolasco will become a free agent at the end of the season. Since he did not begin the year with the Dodgers, Nolasco's new employer will not be able to obtain draft pick compensation by making him a qualifying offer. Although Nolasco never seemed particularly likely to receive a qualifying offer even had he remained in Miami, the trade is good news for his pending free agency. As MLBTR's Tim Dierkes has explained, teams can sign a player who avoids a qualifying offer without sacrificing a draft pick, which in turn enhances the value of that player on the open market. (On the other hand, Nolasco may see a taxe hike like that experienced by some of his former Miami teammates.)

Nolasco, 30, now sports a 3.85 ERA over 112 1/3 innings in 2013 after a strong outing against the Braves on Wednesday. He has struck out hitters at a 7.1 K/9 pace while walking just 2.0 per nine and generating a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate. He has posted a 4.44 ERA in 1225 2/3 career innings, and has logged over 180 innings in four of his last five seasons. On pace to top 200 innings for the third time in his career, Nolasco promises to be a solid, reliable rotation option for his new club. 

At the time of his departure from Miami, Nolasco stands atop the franchise's record books in both wins and strikeouts. Over his eight-year Marlins career, he notched 81 victories and struck out over 1,000 batters. Nolasco was also far and away the highest paid player in a rebuilding Miami dugout this year, with his $11.5MM price tag dwarfing that of Placido Polanco, who was second on the payroll at a meager $2.75MM.

The three prospects that will join the Marlins each ranked among the Dodgers' top thirty farmhands going into the season, according to Baseball America. Sanchez was the lowest among them, registering at number 25. Nevertheless, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo pegs him as L.A.'s eight-best prospect. The 23-year-old possesseswhat BA calls an "exciting arm," though he has yet to dominate in the lower minor leagues and could be converted to a reliever. Mayo says Sanchez's live, low-to-mid-90's heater and promising-but-inconsistent slider and change make him a possible mid-rotation starter.

The other two minor leaguers have already been converted to relievers, and in that respect possess less upside than Sanchez. Ames notched the 21st slot on Baseball America's list of top Dodger prospects, with BA saying he could be ready as a 7th or 8th inning setup man in the big leagues as soon as this year. The 25-year-old reliever has pitched to a 3.67 ERA in 34 1/3 innings at Triple-A to date in his first season at that level. He has, however, seen his strikeout rate decline and walk rate go up this season, as compared to the stellar marks he put up in the lower minor league levels. Wall checked in one spot ahead of Ames among Dodgers prospects before the season, but has struggled in 2013. He was shellacked (14 earned runs in 7 innings) during a big league call-up and has a 5.60 ERA in 27 1/3 Triple-A innings. BA says that the tall righty possesses late-game stuff, but has still yet to master his command. 

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported that the teams were in serious negotiations and that three lower-level prospects would be included, as well as international slot money. (Twitter links). MLB.com's Joe Frisaro was the first to report (on Twitter) that a deal was expected to be completed tonight and would include three pitchers going back to Miami. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro was the first to report (tweet) that Steve Ames was one of the three players to be sent from Los Angeles, while Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com was the first to reports (via Twitter) that Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez would also be included. Frisaro first reported that the deal was completed via Twitter. ESPN.com's Jayson Stark confirmed (on Twitter) that the Dodgers would take on all of Nolasco's salary. 

Photo courtesy of Daniel Shirley/USA Today Sports Images. 

Dodgers In Serious Talks For Ricky Nolasco

7:14pm: Another right-handed reliever, Josh Wall, is also likely to be included in the deal, according to another Frisaro tweet. Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com was the first to report (Twitter link) Wall's potential inclusion, and also reports that young right-handed starter Angel Sanchez could be the third piece. (Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel have both tweeted confirmations of that report.) For his part, Frisaro tweets that Ames and Wall are both "solidly confirmed," while the last player is a still-undetermined pitcher.

Wall checked in one spot ahead of Ames among Dodgers prospects before the season, but has struggled in 2013. He was shellacked (14 earned runs in 7 innings) during a call-up and has a 5.60 ERA in 27 1/3 Triple-A innings. The tall righty is noted by BA as possessing late-game stuff, but has still yet to master his command. Sanchez, meanwhile, is the Dodgers' 25th ranked prospect in the view of Baseball America. The 23-year-old has what BA calls an "exciting arm," though he has yet to dominate in the lower minor leagues.

6:10pm: One of the players going to Miami will be righty Steve Ames, Frisaro tweets. Ames ranked 21st among Dodger prospects according to Baseball America's preseason rankings, with BA saying he should be ready as a 7th or 8th inning setup man in the big leagues as soon as this year. The 25-year-old reliever has pitched to a 3.67 ERA in 34 1/3 innings at Triple-A this year, his first season at that level. He has, however, seen his strikeout rate decline and walk rate go up this season, as compared to the stellar marks he put up in the lower minor league levels.

6:03pm: The Dodgers could also receive some international slot funds along with Nolasco, tweets FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

5:25pm: MLB.com's Joe Frisaro is reporting on Twitter that a deal is expected to be completed tonight. He says the deal will likely include three pitchers, two of whom would be considered prospects. CBSSports.com's Danny Knobler tweets that his sources believe a deal is close, and says that minor-league arms will likely be the price for Nolasco. Also by way of Twitter, Frisaro explains that Nolasco's solid outing against the Braves increased the return that Miami is expected to receive from LA. 

Likewise, ESPN's Jayson Stark reports that other clubs that have discussed Nolasco with Miami now see the Dodgers as the clear frontrunners, with the teams still hashing out which players will head to Miami in exchange. Stark also says that the Rockies seem to be easing out of the Nolasco sweepstakes, with the Orioles out altogether. Meanwhile, he writes, the Padres, Rangers, and Giants remain in contact with the Marlins. 

4:28pm: The Dodgers are in serious talks for Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links).  The deal would call for L.A. to send three prospects, none of them being upper echelon types, to Miami for the right-hander.  The two sides are "getting close" to an agreement, according to one source.

Los Angeles would absorb the prorated portion of Nolasco's salary, which is roughly $5.5MM.  The SoCal native will hit the open market after the season but could eventually sign a new deal with the Dodgers if things work out.

We learned yesterday that the Giants and Dodgers both made open offers to acquire Nolasco, but it would appear that the Dodgers have the upper hand at this stage.  The Marlins have reportedly talked with more than six clubs about a Nolasco trade and they've had varying levels of interest from the Rockies, Rangers, Padres, and Orioles as well.

Jeff Todd contributed to this post.

Dodgers, Giants Make Offers To Acquire Nolasco

Both the Dodgers and Giants have made open offers to acquire Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, reports MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The Dodgers are reportedly offering a pitching prospect and would take on the approximately $5.7MM remaining on Nolasco's deal. The Giants' offer, on the other hand, would send two pitching prospects to Miami but would also require some dollars to accompany Nolasco to San Fran.

Frisaro further reports that the Marlins have talked with more than six clubs about a Nolasco trade. He wonders whether the club is sitting on these two outstanding offers and waiting for another team to beat them. In addition to Los Angeles and San Francisco, varying levels of interest in Nolasco have reportedly been shown by the Rockies, Rangers, Padres, and Orioles.

Olney’s Latest: Biogenesis, Utley, Wilson, Garza

In his latest column (Insider subscription required and recommended), ESPN's Buster Olney writes that Nelson Cruz is among the players whose free agent stock could be severely impacted by the Biogenesis scandal. If Cruz is cleared of any wrongdoing by that time he will be fine, but if discipline has yet to be handed out, or he receives a suspension near the end of the season, teams will be wary. Cruz's case could be further complicated if the Rangers make him a qualifying offer. Here are a few of the highlights from Olney's excellent piece…

  • The Blue Jays are looking for upgrades in their rotation and at second base, and they will be interested in Chase Utley should the Phillies make him available.
  • Former Giants closer Brian Wilson is working out in Hawaii and could pitch for teams later this month or in early August.
  • The Cubs are "making progress" in trade negotiations surrounding Matt Garza, and they're actively talking with the Rangers, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Indians and Dodgers. They may also still be involved in talks with the Orioles as well as other NL West teams.
  • Olney also spoke with his colleague Jayson Stark on today's Baseball Tonight podcast, and they discussed the impact of Biogenesis on pennant races in addition to discussing the upcoming trade deadline (Biogenesis talk begins immediately; trade discussions begin shortly after the 11:00 mark).
  • Olney said he'd be "shocked" if Garza was still on the Cubs by the All-Star break, but Stark hears that the Cubs may prefer to wait for a team to meet their price, even if it means waiting until the end of July. Stark and Olney agree that Garza will have the highest price tag of any player on the trade market.
  • The Dodgers, Rangers and Rockies are the three teams that are still in the mix on Ricky Nolasco, while the other formerly interested parties are "on the periphery" according to Stark.

Poll: Who Will Acquire Ricky Nolasco?

Ricky Nolasco has been the hottest name on the trade market thus far and represents one of the better starting pitching options available. After a pair of rocky outings on June 21 and June 28, he righted the ship Wednesday against a tough Braves lineup when he allowed two runs on six hits and no walks with seven strikeouts in seven innings. That start brought Nolasco's ERA to 3.85 with 7.1 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 and a 41.9 percent ground-ball rate. He's not an elite starter, but Nolasco is a solid middle-of-the-rotation arm who can upgrade just about any rotation in baseball.

So far, the Dodgers are said to be the frontrunners for his services because they're willing to absorb the roughly $5.5MM he has remaining on his contract. Another suitor, the Rockies, have offered a pair of "pretty decent" prospects, but they don't want to take on the remainder of his contract. The Marlins are currently seeking both salary relief and solid prospects, so a deal has yet to occur.

Nolasco has also drawn interest from the Padres, Giants, Rangers and Orioles, though Baltimore recently acquired Scott Feldman from the Cubs, so their level of interest isn't as clear as it once was. Nolasco, a southern California native, could be particularly attractive to the Padres as they may feel there's a better chance at extending him before he hits the open market.

Recently, the Dodgers, Rockies and Rangers were all said to be "in heavy pursuit" of the eight-year veteran, who is the Marlins franchise leader in wins, starts and innings pitched. At this point, as many have noted, it's no longer a question of if Nolasco gets traded, but rather a question of when he gets traded and where he lands. All of this begs the question…

Ricky Nolasco Rumors: Wednesday

Last night it was reported that the Rockies, Rangers and Dodgers were the three teams that are "in heavy pursuit" of Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco. The 30-year-old's name has been the most frequently mentioned trade candidate of the summer to date, and reports have said that today could be a "soft deadline" by which to trade him. Here's the latest on Nolasco…

  • The Yankees are scouting the start as well, Knobler tweets.
  • Knobler also tweets that the Rangers have a scout in attendance. The Dodgers don't have a scout there, though Knobler notes that may not be worth reading into.
  • Nolasco is pitching for the Marlins right now, and Danny Knobler of CBS Sports tweets that the Giants, Padres and Rockies all have scouts in attendance.
  • While the Dodgers are still the frontrunners for Nolasco, about a half-dozen teams are showing interest in Nolasco, writes MLB.com's Joe Frisaso. Nolasco could still be moved before the first pitch tonight, he adds. Frisaro also spoke to an NL scout regarding Nolasco's recent pair of rough outings. The scout downplayed the struggles, telling Frisaro: "He did nothing to not get himself traded."
  • All signs point to Nolasco making tonight's start for the Marlins, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. In a separate tweet, he notes that rain in the forecast could be an issue. A rainout would buy the Marlins some extra time, as the team has been said to prefer to move him prior to this start.

Martino On Phillies, Papelbon, Nolasco, Dodgers

The first big move of trade season went down yesterday when the Orioles acquired starter Scott Feldman from the Cubs, along with catcher Steve Clevenger, for starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, reliever Pedro Strop and international bonus pool money.  The move will obviously have an impact on the O's, but more broadly, it means that we've entered the period when trade talk becomes more than just talk, writes Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.  Here's more from today's column..

  • Scouts that have spoken with Martino expect the Phillies to be active sellers, but hold onto Cliff Lee since they want to contend next year.  However, rival scouts and execs anticipate that, in addition to Michael Young and Chase UtleyJonathan Papelbon will be dealt or at least heavily shopped.  We've heard previously that the Phillies are expected to ask for an astronomical haul to part with Papelbon.
  • Papelbon also fits the bill as someone who could be kept for next year, but rivals that have spoken with Martino see too much of a need for bullpen help amongst contenders like the Red Sox and Tigers and they expect GM Ruben Amaro to get a strong offer for the closer.
  • One executive involved in the talks for the MarlinsRicky Nolasco predicts that he will land with the Dodgers, with the Giants a possibility and the Padres still somewhat interested.  Last night it was reported that the RangersRockies, and Dodgers are in "heavy pursuit" of the Miami hurler.  
  • A major league source told Martino that the Twins will likely shop Mike Pelfrey later this month, if he makes a strong few starts.  While the 29-year-old hasn't exactly been a world-beater this year – he has a 6.11 ERA with 4.8 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 – he could perhaps get better as he moves further from last year's Tommy John surgery and appeal to a contender willing to throw starters against the wall like the Orioles.

Rangers, Dodgers, Rockies In “Heavy Pursuit” Of Nolasco

9:42pm: The Rangers, Dodgers and Rockies "are in heavy pursuit" of Nolasco, two executives tell ESPN's Jayson Stark. The Marlins are narrowing their focus to getting a deal done quickly, because the team would like to have the returning Henderson Alvarez make tomorrow's start instead of Nolasco. The Marlins are seeking a pair of prospects in return for Nolasco.

Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports adds that the Marlins are looking for prospects as opposed to a return like the Cubs received from the Orioles earlier today when they acquired Jake Arrieta and Pedro Strop for Scott Feldman. Rosenthal opines that there is no sense in the Marlins' insistance that the acquiring team absorb the remaining $5.7MM on Nolasco's deal. The Marlins entered the season with a $36.3MM payroll — the second lowest in baseball — and will easily receive more than that figure in revenue sharing and national TV money.

7:10pm: Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke with a Marlins source who emphasized that Nolasco is "not a giveaway." According to Heyman, the Rockies have offered a pair of "pretty decent prospects" but don't want to absorb the remaining salary on Nolasco's deal. Heyman's source suggests that the Marlins also have an offer that is mostly salary relief without offering much in the way of prospects.

5:12pm: The Marlins are beginning to adjust their asking price on Ricky Nolasco, according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The change reflects their desire to move him as soon as possible, according to Olney, who notes that the Dodgers are still the frontrunners.

As recently as last Thursday, the Marlins were said to be looking for a "good" prospect for Nolasco, as well as a willingness to absorb the entirety of the roughly $6MM remaining on his contract for the 2013 season.

Nolasco has been connected to the Dodgers, Rockies, Padres, Giants, Orioles and Rangers, though the Orioles swung a deal for Scott Feldman earlier today, and it's unclear if their interest remains. The 30-year-old has a 3.93 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 in 105 1/3 innings this season, though he's struggled in his past two outings.

Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported last week that Wednesday could be a "soft deadline" to move Nolaco, as the Marlins are hoping to deal him before he makes his scheduled start that day.

Heyman On Nolasco, Dodgers, Utley, Young

Here's a look at the latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com..

  • A person familiar with the Ricky Nolasco talks says the Dodgers, Orioles, Giants, Rangers, and Rockies are among the teams in the mix, Heyman writes.  The Dodgers have been considered a favorite since they might be willing to absorb the $5.75MM remaining on Nolasco's $11.5-million 2013 salary, but the source suggested late Monday afternoon that there's isn't a deal out there yet that is good enough to jump on.  Colorado is said to have offered two decent prospects for the hurler but they are skittish about paying the salary.  While some have suggested that the Marlins are anxious to trade Nolasco before his scheduled start on Wednesday, they are still holding out for a quality offer.
  • Heyman hears that the word around baseball is that the Dodgers could have interest in Chase Utley. It isn't known if the Dodgers have gone so far as to contact Phillies GM Ruben Amaro, but he doesn't seem anxious to trade the second baseman despite the fact he is headed towards free agency.  If the Phillies do decide to sell, they are said to be more willing to part with Michael Young, who's interested the Dodgers before. 
  • With the deadline just weeks away, Heyman laid out the market as it stands today.  The piece starts by highlighting the six biggest sellers in the Cubs, White Sox, Brewers, Twins, Marlins, and Astros.