The Dodgers kicked off the trading season a bit early this year, acquiring Ricky Nolasco from the Marlins on Saturday. Los Angeles agreed to pick up all the Nolasco’s remaining salary — $5.7 million — and sent three nondescript pitching prospects to Miami.
In what should be a down year for acquiring starting pitchers mid season, Nolasco, 30, was one of the more prized players available. His overall numbers this year — 7.21 K/9, 2.00 B/9, 3.85 ERA and 3.80 SIERA — show a noticeable improvement over his last couple seasons, and he’s on pace to have his best overall year, in terms of wins above replacement, since 2009.
The free-agent-to-be should slide nicely into the back of the Dodgers’ rotation behind Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu. And given the tightly packed NL West, the potential two wins Nolasco should add is only going to help.
Heading back across the country are a trio of right-handers: John Wall, Steve Ames, and Angel Sanchez; none of whom made the Dodgers’ top prospect list.
Wall, 26, is a former second round pick and has had two cups of coffee with the Dodgers, throwing 12.2 innings while striking out 11 and walking 7. His overall numbers in Triple-A over the past two seasons — 8.6 K/9, 4.0 BB/9 and a 4.89 — suggest that he’s nothing more than bullpen fodder at this point.
Ames, 25, has historically shown a strong ability to miss bats (11.5 K/9 through his minor league career) and has done a good job limiting free passes (2.1 BB/9). He finally reached Triple-A this season, but profiles as another replaceable bullpen arm, though his ceiling should be slightly higher than that of Wall, something along the lines as a decent middle reliever.
Sanchez, 23, made 14 starts in the Midwest League this year, averaging 8.8 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9, numbers that are far less impressive considering his age and competition. He’s minor league depth right now.
Overall, this is a nice little pickup for the Dodgers, acquiring a veteran starting pitcher for basically the price of picking up the remaining half-season of his contract.
Photo of Ricky Nolasco Courtesy of David Goldman/AP via SI.com