A rumor involving the Dodgers that seemingly won't go away is their interest in Marlins right-handed starter Ricky Nolasco. Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles on Wednesday night reported the Dodgers' interest, citing a source that the Dodgers and Marlins were "deep into trade talks" about the right-hander.
Then Jim Duquette on MLB Network radio on Thursday cited two "high level execs involved with the talks" that Nolasco could join the Dodgers "as soon as today."
Saxon, however, quotes the same source as saying, "There have been interesting discussions. Hard to know if anything's close right now."
While that may seem contradictory at first, I suppose it is possible to be both deep into discussions and at the same time not close to a deal. Welcome to the nature of trade deadline season. The next month, leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, will be full of such rumors and news, and we get to sort through it to see what's real.
With Nolasco, who was born in Corona and graduated from Rialto High School, the Dodgers would seem a natural fit. Every team in the National League West except the Diamondbacks have reportedly shown interest in the right-hander, who is 4-7 with a 3.68 ERA, with 77 strikeouts and 25 walks in 100⅓ innings in 2013.
While Stephen Fife has done everything the Dodgers have asked for and more, with a 3.41 ERA in six starts, with 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 34⅓ innings, it's understandable the Dodgers would want depth in the starting rotation. After all, Ted Lilly is currently on his third stint on the disabled list, and Chris Capuano has already been on the DL twice this season. The Dodgers right now are one injury away from having to turn again to Matt Magill, who has more walks than innings pitched in the majors this season.
Nolasco, while not a huge upgrade, would likely cost only mostly money. He is due just under $6 million remaining on his $11.5 million salary in 2013, and on Wednesday Buster Olney of ESPN reported the Marlins had teams willing to take on all of that remaining salary. One would have to think the Dodgers were one of those teams, if only to avoid trading prospects of note.
Michael Jong at Fish Stripes estimated that, "If the Fish ask for a B- or even C-ranked prospect, someone who might be named on a top-20 organizational list, they would happily ship away half a season of Nolsaco's remaining services."
Nolasco is slated to start Friday for Miami, and he is doing his best to block out any outside distractions these trade rumors bring, telling Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, "I'm just blocking all that other stuff out. All of that is out of my control, so I'm just trying to go out there and get my teammates' respect, and just concentrate on what is going on with us every day."
I am intrigued by a Nolasco trade for another reason.
Nolasco maybe? RT @realericsachs Who has best chance to represents Marlins at the ASG? Ozuna, Fernandez, or is it Stanton by default?— Juan C. Rodriguez (@JCRMarlinsbeat) June 24, 2013
While it is unlikely that Nolasco would be the Marlins' All-Star representative, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the Miami Sun-Sentinel suggested, a well-timed trade could trigger a repeat of 1998, when the Dodgers traded for closer Jeff Shaw of the Reds. Shaw's first game in a Dodgers uniform was the 1998 All-Star Game at Coors Field.