We've heard that the Marlins were looking to sign Dan Uggla and Ricky Nolasco to long-term contracts, but just as the Uggla talks haven't yielded much progress, the club's negotiations with Nolasco are similarly stalled. Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that "a significant gulf exists between the two sides" as they try to keep Nolasco in Miami.
Nolasco has avoided arbitration the last two seasons (most recently signing a one-year, $3.8MM pact with Florida last December) but still has two arbitration years left thanks to his Super Two status. Rodriguez reports that since the Marlins have a team policy that requires any multi-year deal to buy out at least one free agent year, it's logical to assume that the Fish are looking at a three- or four-year contract for the right-hander.
Nolasco hasn't quite become the top-flight starter that many expected him to become after his breakout 2008 season, but aside from a 4.81 ERA in 2009-10, his peripherals over the last two seasons have been solid — a 4.44 K/BB ratio and an even 9.00 K/9 rate. One possible wrinkle in the negotiations could be Nolasco's pending surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. The Fish may want to wait to see how Nolasco recovers from the surgery before committing a big chunk of money. As Rodriguez points out, there's nothing stopping Florida from settling a contract with the pitcher for next season and then resuming the long-term negotiations later.