Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Offseason Trade Targets for Pitching (3 in a series) - Ricky Nolasco

Let's keep on trucking...we have already discussed James Shields and Scott Baker, so let's turn our attention to a slightly more volatile commodity in Ricky Nolasco.

The Marlins are always teetering on the edge of a fire sale, but last offseason's shot across the bow from the players' union about not properly spending revenue sharing forced them to raise payroll a little in 2010. The Marlins signed Josh Johnson to a big-money extension (4 yr - $39M through 2013) and already have Hanley Ramirez locked up through 2014. That's plenty of time for Hanley to keeping dogging it in the field and get a coach or two fired.

The Marlins are looking at $10M to keep Dan Uggla, if they tender him a contract of course. Once you add in their other committments and some estimated arb numbers and min wage numbers, you're looking at a $40M payroll without Nolasco, who will be entering arb-3 (he's a Super 2 so there will be an arb-4). Nolasco made $3.8M this year so a $5.8 to $6M contract in in the realm of possibility.

The other item to consider is that the Marlins farm system is drying up. A once fertile farm has started to go fallow, as Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller have been busts. Kyle Skipworth showed some signs of life this year, but not enough. Chad James from 2009's draft had a great debut, but he is years away still. Mike Stanton and Logan Morrison made their debuts this year.

The Marlins could trade Nolasco, rebuild the farm and re-load on the fly for 2011.

Ricky Nolasco 6-2/230 RHP, age 28 in 2011 season

Contract: $3.8M in 2010, going into arb-3 in 2011

I referred to Nolasco as "volatile" in the opening paragraph because unlike Shields and Baker, Nolasco is inconsistent but with better overall stuff than those two.

Nolasco throws a 91 mph fastball, an 84 mph slider, a 75 mph curveball, and a 85 mph splitter. Historically, both his slider and curve have been reliable out pitches that are above the run line.

The Marlins like boom or bust prospects and pitchers with some heat. As a result, I'm not going to use the Universal Trade Chip known as Rudy Owens in this scenario. Rather, I will sacrifice Jeff Locke, Diego Moreno, and Robbie Grossman to the Marlins.

A few folks on some other forums feel that what I'm offering in these trades is not enough, not even close. Here's what the Angels gave up for Dan Haren (signed thru 2012, with a club option in 2013), with the approximate Pirate equivalent in parentheses:

Joe Saunders (Zach Duke)
Tyler Skaggs (ZVR)
Patrick Corbin (Jeff Locke)
Rafael Rodgriguez (Steven Jackson)

Considering that Rodriguez is a total throw-in, these packages of 3 minor leaguers that I'm offering are the equivalent (or better since Saunders/Duke suck and are expensive) to the Haren package.

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