Ricky Nolasco Rumors
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.
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...
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.
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 Utley, Jonathan 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 Marlins' Ricky 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 Rangers, Rockies, 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.
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.
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.
In his latest column for FOX Sports, Jon Paul Morosi reminds us that you never know which trade deadline move will pay the biggest dividends. For example, the deal that sent Marco Scutaro from the Rockies to the Giants last July ended up being the most influential move of the 2012 season, as Scutaro helped lead the Giants to a World Series title. Here's Morosi's latest...
- Wednesday could be a "soft deadline" for the Marlins to trade Ricky Nolasco. That's the date of Nolasco's next scheduled start and also the day that Henderson Alvarez (Nolasco's probable replacement in the Miami rotation) comes off the disabled list. Nolasco's recent struggles over his last few starts, however, haven't done much to help his trade stock.
- "It may be wise" for the Pirates to investigate acquiring Nolasco, Matt Garza or Bud Norris, Morosi opines. The Bucs could use veteran starting help if Wandy Rodriguez and A.J. Burnett are still a ways away from returning from the disabled list.
- Ervin Santana "would instantly become one of the top arms" available if the Royals chose to trade the right-hander. Santana will be a free agent this winter and is on pace (2.74 ERA, 4.67 K/BB, 7.2 K/9) for the best season of his nine-year career, though he has been aided by a low .253 BABIP and a high 82.8% strand rate. The Royals play nothing but contenders until the All-Star break and if they haven't reached .500 by the Midsummer Classic, Morosi speculates they could become sellers.
- The White Sox and Tigers haven't made a deal together since 1989, a fact that Chicago executive VP Kenny Williams notes "hasn’t been for lack of trying or fear on either part. It’s just one of those things.” The two teams could be ideal trade partners this summer since Detroit is looking for relief pitching and the Sox have bullpen arms to spare. Williams joked that he'd happily take one of Detroit's top prospects “for two players of our choosing. We will consider that making good on the Tigers’ steal in ’89," in reference to Williams himself being part of that 24-year-old deal.
With nearly half the season in the books, the Washington Post's Barry Svrluga took a look at the offseason's biggest bargains. He starts his list with Marlon Byrd of the Mets, who signed a minor league deal but has contributed 12 home runs and a .258/.309/.493 line in 237 plate appearances.
- The next player to get a nod in the article is the Pirates' Francisco Liriano, who inked an incentive-driven deal with Pittsburgh. He has been nothing short of stellar thus far, carrying a 2.30 ERA over 54 2/3 innings and 10.0 K/9 against 3.6 BB/9. Liriano's excellence has combined with a stunning earlygoing for Jeff Locke, continued renaissance for A.J. Burnett, and now the emergence of top prospect Gerrit Cole to give the Buccos a surprisingly excellent rotation.
- Of course, the Bucs just became the first MLB team to fifty wins after decades of poor performances. While the team may not necessarily have any obvious areas that require immediate attention, then, one must wonder whether it will contemplate any bold moves to seize the opportunity this year. As MLB.com's Tom Singer writes, Pittsburgh will be very interesting to watch as the trade deadline approaches. Manager Clint Hurdle explained: "You always need to look and see if you can add to the team strength. ... You pay attention to chemistry, and try to do the right thing."
- In spite of the rotation's excellence thus far, then, one wonders whether it could be an area that the club looks to improve. While the staff currently sports the league's second-lowest ERA, it ranks 11th in FIP, 18th in xFIP, and 20th in WAR. (All links to Fangraphs leaderboards.) Locke, in particular, looks destined for some pretty heavy regression, with his 2.06 ERA belied by a 3.85 FIP and 4.11 xFIP. In addition to possible regression, Pittsburgh's starting depth has been tested already. As Singer reports, the Pirates could be looking at long absences for starters Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald. Rodriguez, in particular, would be a major loss if he misses substantial time. He reportedly has been shut down after experiencing forearm tightness following a toss on flat ground.
- Another team that has experienced pitching injuries, the Dodgers, has made an internal move to try and shore up its late-inning woes. The team announced on Twitter that it has brought up right-handed reliever Jose Dominguez. As Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times explains, the 22-year-old has a legitimate 100+ MPH heater. After two drug suspensions earlier in his career, the Dominican native will look to make a bullpen acquisition unnecessary for the Dodgers.
- Sticking with the relief side of the rubber, the Cubs' Kevin Gregg has emerged as an unlikely trade candidate. As MLB.com's Carrie Muskat writes, Chicago already seems to be sizing up replacements for their newly minted closer. Of course, Gregg blew his first save this evening, which could take some of the luster off of his outstanding start. (Gregg's potential replacement, Blake Parker, went on to pick up his first big league save.) But as MLBTR's Steve Adams recently explained, Gregg's results have largely been supported by his peripherals.
- Another obvious trade candidate, the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco, also struggled in his latest showcase. Nevertheless, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald writes, Miami has already lined up Nolasco's rotation spot to be occupied by Henderson Alvarez as soon as Wednesday. Manager Mike Redmond says that Alvarez is "going to be on his way" to Miami and that the team will "figure out what we're going to do as far as where we're going to fit him in."
- The Marlins may be forced to return top Rule 5 pick Alfredo Silverio to the Dodgers after the 26-year-old outfielder had to undergo a second Tommy John surgery, writes Spencer. The former prospect had his career derailed by a car accident, but was hoping to re-establish himself in Miami.
Paul Konerko isn't interested in discussing a potential trade from the White Sox to a contender, MLB.com's Scott Merkin reports on Twitter. "I don’t know many teams that are going to want a guy who can’t play," the first baseman said. Konerko, 37, is nursing a back injury and hasn't played since June 23rd. As Merkin notes, Konerko has ten-and-five rights, meaning he cannot be traded without permission. The White Sox reportedly aren't interested in moving him anyway, even though they expect to be sellers at the deadline. Here's more from around baseball..
- The Orioles are interested in the Cubs' Matt Garza after being "lukewarm" on him previously, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports via Twitter. However, they believe the Cubs' current asking price is too high.
- A team source says Cuban righty Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez is "not a fit" for the Nationals, according to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post, via Twitter. The Nats had two scouts watch Gonzalez pitch this month but believe he'll be overpriced.
- The Yankees aren't involved in discussions for Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco "or any other pitcher," FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal says via Twitter, noting that offense is the team's primary need.
- It sounds as though A's GM Billy Beane will give serious thought to re-signing Grant Balfour, despite having two cheaper heir-apparents in the fold, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Aaron Steen contributed to this post.
Significant trades remain rare in June, but the Marlins' Ricky Nolasco has four days left to join a club that has added Kevin Youkilis, Mark Ellis, Joel Hanrahan, Sean Burnett, Mark DeRosa, Chris Perez, Nate McLouth, Jeff Locke, and Charlie Morton in recent years. Dodgers GM Ned Colletti told Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio and ESPN today that there have been far more serious trade discussions five weeks from the deadline than he can ever recall, and you have to wonder if Colletti is thinking of his own discussions for Nolasco while making that comment. The entire NL West plus the Orioles have been linked to the 30-year-old righty, who is scheduled to face the Padres tomorrow night. Nolasco has about $6MM left on his contract, which will certainly be part of the trade negotiations. The latest:
- Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports report that the Marlins are seeking a "good" prospect as well as the full $6MM of salary relief in exchange for Nolasco. The financial implications of those demands have pushed the Rockies out of the running. The Dodgers are the front-runners, according to one executive, though the Giants and Padres are still involved in talks. The Orioles are "less confident" in their chances, and the Rangers "loom as a possibility," according to the FOX duo.
- The Dodgers are likely to pay more of Nolasco's salary if it means saving a prospect, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. The Dodgers are pleased with the current direction of their minor league system.
- ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Dodgers and Marlins have indeed made progress in talks for Nolasco. One source tells Olney that there's a 70 percent chance the deal gets done.
- The Marlins and Dodgers are indeed in talks about Nolasco, hears Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
- As a Southern California native, Nolasco would naturally prefer to pitch on the West Coast, notes MLB.com's Joe Frisaro. The interest from the NL West bodes well for that goal, though the Red Sox scouted Nolasco's last start, writes Frisaro. Nolasco's opinion on being a walking trade rumor? "Whatever happens, happens," he told Frisaro.
- What might it take to acquire Nolasco? Bowden offers proposals for each NL West team in this ESPN article.