Ricky Nolasco and the Miami Marlins just cannot avoid the trade rumors surrounding his next destination. Almost all of the NL West teams were apparently considering Nolasco, so why shouldn't another potential partner surface from these frantic rumors? Hank Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted that the Los Angeles Dodgers were "on blitzkrieg" to acquire Nolasco "very soon."
Of course, Nolasco is still a Marlin today, as Jim Bowden of ESPN and MLB Network Radio mentioned that the Dodgers are not that close on finishing a Nolasco deal.
Dodgers are NOT close in acquiring Ricky Nolasco from Marlins 4-6 clubs have shown serious interest..Mia working on names not exchanging yet— JIM BOWDEN (@JimBowdenESPNxm) June 25, 2013
Whether or not the Dodgers were any close to a deal is not particularly relevant for Marlins fans right now. What is interesting is the speed at which these rumors have taken place regarding Nolasco, who could be a dead asset thanks to his $6 million remaining on his salary.
The one interesting thing about the Dodgers is that they might be willing to overlook that salary more than teams like the Colorado Rockies, who apparently discussed Nolasco with the Fish late last week. The Dodgers are only renting the native Californian righty, so it would be a short-term salary commitment. If they were serious about an offer, they could give the Marlins payroll relief and a passable prospect, thus overpaying for Nolasco and giving the Fish the best return.
As for the speed at which these rumors have come up, the Marlins are clearly emphasizing the "best return" situation. Buster Olney of ESPN reports that the Marlins are "aggressively working" to ship out Nolasco quickly.
The Marlins have been aggressively working to move Ricky Nolasco, ASAP.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) June 25, 2013
The Marlins could be doing this to establish the most value for Nolasco. Getting a jump on the thin starting pitching market this season may allow the Fish to set the price for starters. Setting their own price could get them a better return, especially from a free-wheeling team like the Los Angeles Dodgers, than if the Fish waited until any bigger fishes like Yovani Gallardo or, if the market gets to that point, Cliff Lee become available.
The Marlins also get the advantage of trading Nolasco while he still has starts left in his tank for the other team. Nolasco is slated to start Friday for the Marlins against the San Diego Padres, but what if the Fish pulled off a trade within the next three days? That could presumably give Nolasco 16 more starts with his new team, which is an entire half-season of work. The difference between that and one or two starts less may not mean too much, but for teams desperate to dislodge replacement-level talent, that might help them get the fractions of runs needed for playoff positioning.
If the Marlins indeed can make a move soon (and there is apparently no indication that a move is imminent), it would be a benefit to the Marlins as well. Nolasco's time with the Fish is over, and injured starter Henderson Alvarez is slated to have one more rehab start in Double-A Jacksonville before returning to the main roster. That return should occur next week, if all goes according to plan, which means the Marlins have a week to slip Nolasco out and seamlessly transition Alvarez in. Though Tom Koehler has done little to show he deserves a starting role, he certainly has more of a future in Miami than Nolasco.
Ricky Nolasco should be the on the move, but it is anyone's guess when. Keep it locked on Fish Stripes for all the coverage of the Marlins and their trade rumors.