Signs are pointing to Yunel Escobar becoming the next player traded by the Marlins. If it was up to him, Ricky Nolasco — unhappy with the team’s direction — wouldn’t mind joining him on the way out of Miami.
A source said Monday at baseball’s Winter Meetings that Escobar could be “on the move” as the Marlins look to trade the infielder, who was obtained in the team’s 12-player trade with Toronto last month.
According to the source, the Marlins were in late-stage trade talks with at least two teams interested in the shortstop, whom the Marlins had penciled in as their third baseman.
But at the same time trade talks for Escobar were starting to gather steam, the agent for Nolasco said the veteran pitcher doesn’t want to hang around, either. Matt Sosnick, who represents Nolasco, confirmed an ESPN report that the pitcher wants out.
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“The main thing is he’s ready to move on,’’ Sosnick said. “Ricky just wanted to make it clear that he felt there was a better and healthier situation for him. He wants to win, and it seems that’s secondary there right now. I have a no comment about whether we’ve approached the Marlins or not.’’
Sources said neither Nolasco nor his agent has made a formal request to the Marlins to be traded, though.
Nolasco has one year remaining on a contract that pays him $11.5 million next season, which would make him the highest-paid Marlin by far. Escobar is due to make $5 million. Combined, they represent nearly half of the Marlins’ projected on-field payroll for next season.
“It’s the team’s right to do what they choose to do,’’ Sosnick said. “He’s under contract to them and, such, they have the right to do what they feel is best for the team over the next 10 months. We just wanted to make it clear how he felt.’’
With a career record of 76-64, Nolasco is the Marlins’ all-time leader in pitching victories. Last season, he went 12-13 with a 4.48 ERA and figures to be the team’s Opening Day starter in 2013.
But the team’s roster dismantling has not met with favor from several of the team’s few remaining players.
Giancarlo Stanton has also expressed dissatisfaction.
Stanton’s agent, Joel Wolfe, has met with Marlins officials. But Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest declined to say what the discussion was about when he spoke with reporters Monday.
Asked directly if Stanton had requested a trade via his agent, Beinfest replied: “I’ll keep those conversations private. I’ve not talked to [Stanton]. I’m not going to talk about anything we’ve talked about with Joel, out of respect to [Stanton] and just being professional.’’
Stanton is under team control for the next four seasons, though they could trade him before then. At the moment, the Marlins are telling teams they have no intention of trading the young slugger.
Asked if he was concerned about Stanton, Beinfest replied: “I think you have to have some concern. Is it grave concern? I think [Stanton’s] a professional. He’s a great kid. He’s going to come play. We all believe that you get on the field, you get with your new teammates. You get back into a baseball environment, maybe out of the media pecking at you. Hopefully he’ll be a lot more comfortable with what’s going on.
“I understand the disappointment and questions about the direction of the team. I think those are understandable and we anticipated some of that.’’
Beinfest said Stanton is being considered to play in the World Baseball Classic next spring.