The Miami Marlins are beginning to work on trades for the team's veteran players of interest. Most of those players have long since departed from Miami, as the team made most of its deals in the offseason. But the one player everyone expected to be traded, indeed the one who actually requested a trade, is still here.
Ricky Nolasco has helped to anchor the Marlins' rotation this season, but he is in his final year of a three-year extension. Given his inconsistency, it would not be a surprise if the Marlins decided to send him away, especially since they can capitalize on how he has magically upped his trade value. The pitching market this season is very light as well, so Nolasco may be one of the top prizes available to contending teams, like it or not.
But what ballclubs would be interested? Well, apparently the Marlins are working on a Nolasco trade now, according to Juan C. Rodriguez of the Sun-Sentinel, and one of the teams of potential interest could be the San Francisco Giants. Nolasco certainly thinks it would be a nice fit.
"I don't think anybody would be disappointed to come to San Francisco," Nolasco said. "I like everything about this place. It's a good place to pitch. The crowd is great and it's a great team. What's there not to like?
"If it does happen, wherever I go, it'll sink in after I get settled in over there. It's still a time I can't be thinking about stuff like that until it actually happens."
Of course, Nolasco is from southern California, and it is where his family lives, so no one should be surprised that he would be happy moving there. But would the Marlins be happy with a Giants trade, and would the Giants come calling?
Based on last night's starting pitcher, I would imagine the Giants would at least hold some interest in Nolasco. In yesterday's 2-1 Marlins win, the Giants threw out former Marlins reliever Chad Gaudin as a starting pitcher for his fourth start of the year. If that is not an indication of need for starting pitchers, I don't know what is. The Giants as a team have a 4.05 ERA and 3.84 FIP, and their FanGraphs Wins Above Replacement total from their entire pitching staff ranks 23rd in baseball, right in front of the Marlins. Giants starters rank 24th in ERA with a 4.57 mark.
You cannot blame Madison Bumgarner (3.25 ERA, 3.25 FIP) for their troubles, but you can pretty much toss everyone else into the blame bin. Barry Zito has been bad as expected, and Tim Lincecum has struggled again as well, but add in newly minted $127 million man Matt Cain (4.55 ERA, 4.29 FIP) and you have a rotation in crisis.
You also have a rotation without a fifth starter, as Ryan Vogelson is injured and the Giants are trying to get away with Gaudin. This is where Nolasco can fit, as he can slot into that spot and replace one of either Vogelsong or Zito once the former returns from injury.
What kind of return could the Marlins get for Nolasco? Assuming the trade is made when he has 13 starts remaining (some time during July), Nolasco is expected to get around 81 innings of work for his new team. At a 4.00 ERA (an improvement from his preseason projection), Nolasco would be worth about one win over the remainder of the season. A win nowadays is worth around $5 million, meaning the Marlins could get around a B-ranked prospect from a team like the Giants.
Would a return of Gary Brown (ranked as a B- prospect by John Sickels of Minor League Ball before the season) or Joe Panik (B-) be possible fits for a Marlins acquisition? How about one of the three prospect pitchers Sickels ranked above those two players? It seems like one of those players would be enough of a return for Nolasco, who at this point holds similar value to Yunel Escobar.
If the Marlins could squeeze out a decent talent like that, they could have a deal, and it sounds as though the Fish are quick to act.
According to an American League source that has checked in with the Marlins, they already have begun doing legwork on a Nolasco trade and multiple teams have expressed interest.
"They don't screw around," the source said. "The second they get the deal they like they'll do it."
Marlins fans can only hope the Fish find a decent deal, and that deal could be found in San Francisco.