Ricky Nolasco Rumors
The Athletics, Orioles, Pirates and Indians are pursuing Chase Headley most aggressively, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports. The Pirates and Indians seem less motivated to complete a deal now, but the A’s and Orioles haven’t backed off. The Diamondbacks, Phillies and Yankees checked in on Headley, and the Dodgers were seriously interested until they traded for Hanley Ramirez. Here are the rest of Stark’s rumors...
- The Braves are telling teams they’re shifting their focus away from the rotation to possible bullpen and bench upgrades, Stark reports.
- The Marlins are working hard to trade Carlos Zambrano and Carlos Lee, Stark writes. Ricky Nolasco is also available.
- The Rangers are mainly focused on Zack Greinke and James Shields, but the odds of a trade involving Shields are diminishing because Evan Longoria is on his way back to the Rays’ lineup.
- The Cubs are offering to absorb all but $2MM of Alfonso Soriano’s contract, Stark writes. The left fielder earns $18MM per season through 2014 and the Cubs might take it all on for the right prospect.
- The Phillies are still considering trading Shane Victorino, but they are likely to wait a few days before making a decision on his future.
- The Padres have told teams they are likely to trade Huston Street if they can’t sign him to an extension. The Padres are expected to attempt to lock Street up to a one-year extension.
- Reds GM Walt Jocketty "feels a need to do something" and has asked around for a middle-of-the-order hitter, Stark reports.
Here's the latest from ESPN's Jayson Stark...
- One official who spoke with the Marlins brass estimates that the odds Josh Johnson remains with Miami are "95 percent." The Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays, and Royals have all checked in.
- Carlos Lee, Ricky Nolasco, Heath Bell, and Gaby Sanchez are all very available. Other than Johnson, Giancarlo Stanton will be the toughest player to pry away from the Fish.
- The Phillies have talked about trading Cliff Lee following the Cole Hamels extension and they haven't discouraged other teams from inquiring, but their game plan right now is to keep their trio of aces intact.
- Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton are good bets to be dealt and the Phillies will listen on Hunter Pence. They want multiple young big leaguers to plug holes at third base, in the outfield, and in the bullpen in return.
- The Dodgers are in on a number of starting pitchers, including Nolasco, Blanton, Kevin Millwood, and Jason Vargas in addition to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza. They've also checked in on outfield and first base help, including Victorino and Justin Morneau.
- Clubs have not been assured by the Cubs that Garza will make another start before the trade deadline due to his triceps issue. He's more likely to be dealt in the offseason.
- In the wake of acquiring Wandy Rodriguez, the Pirates are sending signals that they could trade away a starter like Jeff Karstens or Kevin Correia.
- The Twins' asking prices for Morneau ("pricey"), Denard Span ("more pricey"), and Josh Willingham ("it made me laugh") are high. Minnesota insists they will listen on anyone and Stark says Morneau is the bat they're most likely to move. Francisco Liriano is "nearly 100 percent" likely to be traded.
- The Orioles continue to look for pitching, someone they consider a number three starter or better. Garza and Vargas have their eye but Dylan Bundy and Manny Machado are off the table. They've gotten hits on Jake Arrieta but won't move him unless they get a similar young arm with several years of team control remaining in return.
- The Brewers will trade Randy Wolf "for nothing if you take the money," according to one official.
- The Rays have "got a big market" for Wade Davis.
The Marlins traded Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez to Detroit yesterday in what could be the first in a series of trades. Marlins officials have told other teams they are “open for business,” Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Lee, Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco and Randy Choate are already drawing trade interest.
The Marlins intend to complete trades that make sense from an on-field perspective, Rosenthal reports. Miami, which now has a 45-51 record, isn’t looking to dump salaries. The Marlins will absolutely try hard to move Heath Bell, but they’re not optimistic about the chances of completing a trade involving their newly-signed closer, Rosenthal reports. Bell is in the first year of a three-year, $27MM contract signed last offseason.
The Athletics have jumped into trade talks for Ramirez, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports (on Twitter). The Blue Jays and Red Sox are also involved, according to Nightengale. The Marlins are open to moving Ramirez, but they’re likely to keep Johnson, who’s coveted by other teams.
As usual, Jon Heyman is tweeting up a storm. His latest from Day 2 of the GM Meetings...
- The Brewers have added Jimmy Rollins to their list of potential shortstops. They're also eyeing Jose Reyes, Rafael Furcal, Yuniesky Betancourt, and Clint Barmes.
- The Yankees believe the prices on C.J. Wilson and Edwin Jackson are way too high thus far, and plan to wait them out. Wilson's agent Bob Garber requested a meeting with the Yankees in New York, during a discussion with GM Brian Cashman yesterday.
- The Marlins are telling teams Ricky Nolasco is not available now. Heyman wonders if they would change if they sign a free agent pitcher.
- One GM interested in Braves righty Jair Jurrjens does not believe he will be traded. The Braves seek an impact bat in return.
- Interest is picking up in Francisco Rodriguez, the third-best available reliever currently in Heyman's opinion.
The latest on the Rockies from the Denver Post's Troy Renck:
- The Rockies continue to search for starting pitching via trade, having met with a few teams already. They probably won't match the asking prices for John Danks or Wandy Rodriguez, but they could target arms such as Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez, Jeff Niemann, and Wade Davis, if the Marlins and Rays are willing to deal.
- The club plans to tender Ian Stewart a contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll be a Rockie in 2012. Multiple clubs have inquired on Stewart, and Colorado is listening.
- Grady Sizemore won't work out for the Rockies, but the team hopes to get a better read on his health when he visits the Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Vail, Colorado.
- The Rockies would have interest in LaTroy Hawkins if they opened up a spot for him by trading Huston Street.
Ricky Nolasco appeared to be off-limits as recently as July, but the Marlins may have changed their stance on the righty. The team will give serious thought to trading Nolasco this offseason, a source who spoke to a front office member told Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The biggest issue with Nolasco is his performance; he posted a 4.67 ERA, 6.5 K/9, 1.9 BB/9, 0.87 HR/9, and 45.1% groundball rate this year in 206 innings. In the past three seasons, Nolasco has posted SIERAs of 3.23, 3.37, and 3.64. However, the ERAs haven't matched up: 5.06, 4.51, and 4.67. The problem is that Nolasco has been so darn hittable, at about ten per nine innings over 2009-11. Nolasco's batted balls have been resulting in hits about 32% of the time, with line drives a frequent outcome.
Nolasco's velocity took a dip this year, as did his strikeout rate. But he remained extremely stingy with free passes, and showed signs of being able to prevent longballs too. There will probably be several sabermetric-inclined teams that consider Nolasco a buy-low candidate, especially if they can put him in front of a stronger defense.
On a personal level, Marlins manager Jack McKeon seemed to question Nolasco's determination, telling Rodriguez, "I can't figure him out. He's got too good of stuff to be a 10-12 pitcher...He better look in the mirror and see if he can make an adjustment or two. Evidently, the hitters are making adjustments to him."
Nolasco, 28, signed a three-year extension in December last year. He's owed $20.5MM over the next two seasons. I think the Marlins will be faced with a Wandy Rodriguez-type situation: there will be teams willing to take on that entire contract, but then the players offered won't be terribly appealing. We've seen in the past that when the Marlins want to move a player they do it, even if they don't appear to be getting great value for him. So it wouldn't be surprising to see Nolasco traded in November for a less-than-stellar return, freeing up cash for the Marlins to pursue a replacement.
- The Braves are working hard to acquire an outfield bat, but there are "still no dance partners" according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter).
- The Astros sent $2MM (not $1MM) to the Phillies in the Pence deal, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark (on Twitter). The Phillies won't have to pay the luxury tax this way, Stark reports.
- Kevin Goldstein and R.J. Anderson of Baseball Prospectus break down the trade that sent Pence to the Phillies.
- The Braves would have included Mike Minor in a deal for Pence, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter).
- One executive tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that the Braves have six untouchable players (Twitter link).
- The Mets thought they were going to trade Carlos Beltran to the Rangers earlier in the week, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Texas was being more aggressive than other teams and even though they weren't willing to include elite prospects, the Mets considered a multi-prospect package. Finally, the Giants offered Zack Wheeler and the Mets moved on from the Rangers, who wouldn't budge on certain requests.
- The Marlins intend to keep Leo Nunez, Omar Infante, Ricky Nolasco and Randy Choate, according to Olney (on Twitter). They've gotten tons of hits on those players, Olney reports.
The NL East looks much different than it did 24 hours ago. Carlos Beltran is out, Zack Wheeler is in and the Phillies and Braves will have to turn elsewhere in their respective searches for offense. Here are the details on the division...
- The Marlins are asking for a lot in exchange for Leo Nunez and Randy Choate and Ricky Nolasco and Anibal Sanchez are off-limits at this point, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter).
- It appears that the Braves will hold onto Derek Lowe, according to Heyman (on Twitter).
- The Brewers obtained $1 from the Braves for catcher Wil Nieves, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (on Twitter). That's right - one dollar. The Braves will pay Nieves' remaining salary while he plays for their Triple-A affiliate.
The Yankees tried for starter Ricky Nolasco, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, but the Marlins are not ready to deal him. Earlier, Joel Sherman of the New York Post talked to an "AL personnel man" who said he thought the Marlins would at least listen seriously on Nolasco.
Nolasco, 28, has a 4.04 ERA, 6.8 K/9, 2.2 BB/9, 0.77 HR/9, and 43.6% groundball rate in 140 1/3 innings this year. The strikeout rate is his lowest since his rookie season. Nolasco has about $2.1MM left on his contract this year, plus $20.5MM for 2012-13.
Danny Knobler of CBS Sports has the latest on the market for starters, from Miami to Detroit to Seattle. Here’s the latest:
- Though the Tigers are a possible destination for Carlos Beltran, they've been focusing all of their attention on upgrading their rotation at this point (Twitter link). Derek Lowe and Jeremy Guthrie are two of the pitchers who have drawn the Tigers' interest.
- The Mariners have suggested to teams that they would discuss dealing starting pitching - specifically Jason Vargas and Doug Fister, according to Knobler. They may not get much for Erik Bedard, but they're getting calls on Adam Kennedy and Jamey Wright.
- Though the Marlins will consider trading Javier Vazquez, Leo Nunez and Randy Choate, they won't talk about Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez or Josh Johnson, according to Knobler. The Marlins are looking to add starting pitching and a third baseman, though those moves may not happen this month.