The Dodgers on Saturday used their main weapon - cash - to both upgrade the starting rotation and not deplete the farm system they are trying to build. The reaction to the trade has been overwhelmingly positive.
The Dodgers acquired Nolasco and his $5,341,530 salary remaining, plus international slot No. 96 worth $197,000, increasing the amount they can spend during the international signing period. The Marlins received Triple-A relievers Josh Wall and Steve Ames, and Class-A starter Angel Sanchez.
None of the vaunted Double-A starting rotation of Zach Lee, Chris Reed, Ross Stripling or Duke von Schamann were touched, so that in itself is a win.
Brandon Lennox before the 2013 season ranked Wall the Dodgers' No. 19 prospect, Ames No. 21, and Sanchez No. 36.
Of Wall, Lennox wrote, "Overall I don’t think Wall has a whole lot of upside, but he could carve out a decent career as a big league middle reliever."
Wall, 26, had a terrific spring for the Dodgers and saw himself with the big club in April. But a couple of disastrous "take one for the team" outings left him with an 18.00 ERA in seven innings. At 12.08, Wall has the second highest ERA in Dodgers history with a minimum of 10 innings pitched (Ed Crane, who pitched for the Dodgers in 1893, had a 13.50 ERA).
"I don’t think he’ll ever be a big league closer or even a setup man, but I do believe that Ames could be a cheap relief option for the Dodgers as soon as this season," Lennox wrote of Ames in March. "When he eventually does make it to the big leagues I think he’ll have a long career in middle relief which is something every team needs."
Ames, 25, was 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA and eight saves for Triple-A Albuquerque in 2013. He also continued the Dodgers Idol curse. Scott Rice, who won the spring training singing competition in 2012, was the final bullpen cut. Ames won the competition in 2013, then ended up one of only two pitchers on the 40-man roster not to pitch for the Dodgers this season (Aaron Harang was the other, and he was traded a week into the season).
Sanchez, 23, had a poor 2012 and was demoted to Class-A Great Lakes to open 2013. He was 2-7 with a 4.67 ERA with 82 strikeouts in 81 innings, including nine innings with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. Before the season Lennox called his arm exciting, but had reservations:
He has a mid 90’s fastball to go along with a solid slider. He also possesses a curveball and a changeup. At the very least Sanchez could be a valuable arm out of the bullpen, but for now the Dodgers will keep the 23 year old in the rotation to try and preserve his value.
Now to the reactions:
- Keith Law at ESPN characterized the deal as a straight salary dump for Miami, and tweeted that the Dodgers gave up "some Olive Garden gift cards" for Nolasco.
- Scott Miller at CBS Sports wrote of the trade, "This does not guarantee the Dodgers anything except rotation depth … which just so happens to be the exact thing they need in this craziest of seasons."
- Matt Eddy broke down the trade at Baseball America.
- Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness had the succinct reaction of, "Nolasco isn’t great, but he’s an improvement, and the price is minimal. Really, really nicely done by the Dodgers."
- "I'm definitely excited," Nolasco told Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. "It's L.A., the team that I grew up going to the games as a kid and stuff. It's kind of surreal now, until I'm actually there. It will take time to sink in, but I'm definitely excited. My whole family couldn't be happier. I'll try to blend in as quickly as I can."
- Chris Jackson of the Albuquerque Examiner got trade reaction from Isotopes manager Lorenzo Bundy, but also got this note on Carlos Marmol: "He hasn't thrown the ball since he was designated (for assignment on June 25). He hasn't thrown in a game or anything in Arizona yet."
- The trade got Jon Weisman at Dodger Thoughts thinking about the Dodgers starting rotation in 2014 and beyond.