The Marlins completed their anticipated trade for pitcher Ricky Nolasco just hours after suffering a 5-4 walk-off loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium on Saturday.
The Marlins sent Nolasco, the team’s all-time wins leader, to the Dodgers in exchange for three minor-league prospects — Josh Wall, Steven Ames and Angel Sanchez, with only Sanchez being ranked among the top-20 prospects in the Dodgers’ farm system, according to MLB.com.
As per the terms of the deal, the Dodgers will also pick up all of the remaining $5.7 million that is owed to Nolasco for this season.
“Ricky’s been terrific not only through the last few weeks but throughout all of this,” Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said via teleconference late Saturday night. “We had made this decision quite some time ago. We have a stable of young pitchers, and Ricky was not part of the plan. He understood that from the beginning. We’re happy we can send him out west. He deserves it. He did a great job for us.”
The Dodgers had been rumored in recent weeks to be among Nolasco’s biggest suitors. Nolasco, 30, who pitched eight seasons for the Marlins, is 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA this season in 18 starts. He is 81-72 with a 4.44 ERA in 213 games (197 starts) over the past eight seasons.
Nolasco is the Marlins’ all-time leader in wins (81), games started (197) and innings pitched (1,225 2/3). Nolasco had a solid outing in what would go down as his final start as a Marlin on Wednesday in Atlanta, going seven innings and striking out seven while giving up only two runs on six hits.
“I appreciate the opportunity provided by the Marlins these past eight years,” Nolasco said in a statement. “Some of the best times of my life have come in Miami, and I thank [Marlins owner Jeffrey] Loria, David Samson, Mike [Hill] and Larry for treating me so well during my time here. I also am so appreciative to [Marlins manager] Mike Redmond and his awesome staff.”
A big reason the Dodgers wanted Nolasco is his career 23-12 record and 3.32 ERA against the rest of the National League West.
“Going to play for the Dodgers, the team that I have always rooted for, is a dream come true,” Nolasco said. “The team is packed with talent and an ownership group that is committed to winning, and I’d like nothing more than to play a part in bringing a World Series back to L.A. I couldn’t be more excited to play in front of my family and friends in Dodger Stadium during this season and hopefully for many more seasons to come.”
Sanchez, 23, the lone starter involved in the deal, is ranked No. 8 among the Dodgers prospects by MLB.com. Ames is a former 17th-round pick out of Gonzaga University in 2009. Wall appeared in six games earlier this season for the Dodgers. He went 0-1 with an 18.00 ERA in seven innings before being sent to the minors. Both players are relievers.
“The deal with the Dodgers made the most sense to us,” Beinfest said. “We got three very good arms all at different levels. We knew that we were early in the process and not let this thing bleed into July 31 because we didn’t know how the market was going to react. We’re very happy with the pitchers coming back and that Ricky is in a good place.”
Beinfest said the Marlins would likely move Kevin Slowey back into the rotation to replace Nolasco, who was scheduled to pitch Monday at home against the Braves. The Marlins rotation includes four promising young starters — first-time All-Star selection Jose Fernandez, Jacob Turner, Henderson Alvarez and Nathan Eovaldi.
Beinfest said the team has several options in its organization to eventually find a permanent fifth starter for the rotation.
“We want the guys here now to just keep doing what they’re doing,” Beinfest said. “We’ve won a lot of games recently because of their pitching. That’s exactly what we’re looking for.”
The Marlins took a two-run lead into the seventh inning Saturday, but one bad pitch and one embarrassing error cost them the chance at a victory.
Cardinals pinch-hitter Shane Robinson lined a single to right field that only should have set up a first-and-third situation for Matt Carpenter with two outs and the game tied at 4 in the bottom of the ninth.
Instead, Jon Jay, who had reached third base, took off and scored the winning run after Giancarlo Stanton’s throw from right field skidded off the bottom of Logan Morrison’s glove as he tried to cut it off.
The Marlins (32-54) lost back-to-back games for the first time since June 18-19 at Arizona.
“I was just trying to get the ball before it hit the ground,” Morrison said. “It kind of met at the same time. I don’t know if it actually hit the ground or was an in-between hop. I was trying to get it before it hit the ground. I should have just played it back or let it go, because it was on-line.”