Dodgers set to acquire Ricky Nolasco from Marlins?

pitcher Ricky Nolasco, a free agent after this season, is set to start Friday against the San Diego Padres. It could well be his final start with Miami.

The Marlins are reportedly eager to deal Nolasco. In the final year of a three-year deal, being paid $11.5 million this season, Nolasco clearly is outside the Marlins’ salary profile. Nolasco, 30, is having a solid season with a 4-7 record and 3.68 ERA. He is primarily a two-seamer/slider pitcher, reliable enough that he could fit nicely into the middle of the rotation for a contender. This is why contenders are expressing considerable interest in acquiring him.

The are deep into trade talks with the Marlins about Nolasco, a Southern California native is set to become a free agent after the season. The Marlins reportedly are looking to deal him well before the July 31 trade deadline. Miami knows the Dodgers’ farm system well after trading Hanley Ramirez to L.A. before last year’s trade deadline. Spring Training this year, the Dodgers appeared to have eight legitimate starting pitchers. Injuries to veteran starters removed the surplus.

The Dodgers certainly will have competition. The San Diego Padres are in talks regarding multiple players including Nolasco. The Padres are known to be looking for starting pitching, and Nolasco could possibly be willing to re-sign with his hometown team this winter.

Early on, the San Francisco Giants seemed like the favorite to land Nolasco, but general manager Brian Sabean said today that the team is not planning to make trades soon because of the high asking prices for players this early in the trading season. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees have all been linked to Nolasco in the last few weeks as well.

Nolasco makes $11.5 million, easily the most of anyone on the Marlins roster. (Adeiny Hechavarria and Placido Polanco are the next highest paid, both at $2.75 million). By putting him on the market sooner, the Marlins could save more money, but the acquiring team could also get more starts out of him. By moving him a month earlier than the July 31 trade deadline, the Marlins would save an extra $2 million or so.

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