COMMENTARY | He is slated to make $11 million dollars this year no matter what. He has quietly been a productive part of this team ever since he was acquired for Juan Pierre back in 2005 from the Cubs. He's racked up 80 wins and almost 1,000 Ks (988).
But Ricky Nolasco, as much as he has produced for the Marlins, is not a part of the future here in Miami.
It's just as well, too.
His initial reactions were not supportive, to say the least, after the trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. Like Giancarlo Stanton, frustration set in after the team went out and made a splash at the start of the season only to implode at season's end 2012. Most viewed it as a chance for the re-marketed Marlins to finally arrive and after years of mediocrity, Nolasco was deflated.
Yet Nolasco is a professional. He takes the ball every 5th day and competes; no matter what name is on the front of his jersey. He said all the right things at the start of the season - despite secretly hoping for a move to a contending team. Reports are the Giants, Dodgers, Colorado and a fair share of other teams are interested.
In all of this sleepwalking, has anyone stopped to ask if this was the right move for the Marlins, after all?
Nolasco is a free agent at season's end which means Miami's chance of re-signing him is probably about the same as some frozen H2O in H-double-hockey-sticks. In Nolasco, however, you have a guy who has made 30+ starts in 4 of the last 5 years. He's durable and dependable. That alone is worth having. While the Marlins are mostly green on this roster, shouldn't the presence of an experience professional be of immense value? He can show the young arms how to be a pro day in, day out.
Then there is the anticipated compensation. Estimates are that Nolasco is probably worth a win when all the stat heads are done looking over his projections for the rest of the season. That should equate to a mid-level prospect somewhere in the $5 million range. When you look at the Giants' roster, there isn't really much worth considering. Can the Marlins get better deals later in the season as the trade deadline looms and competition for playoff spots thickens? Yes, they could.
What about the finances? The Marlins are supposed to be dealing Nolsaco so that they could "pocket" the $11 million in savings. Well, the bad news is that they are paying his salary currently and they owe him about $6 million for the remainder of the season. Teams don't want to swallow that contract because of the projections that he may only be one win better for a team down the stretch. Along with the lukewarm compensation mentioned before, is this really a deal the Marlins must make?
There is a final component to consider: what about fan reaction? Sure, a trade of Nolasco is expected and fans are pretty much disassociated from the franchise at the moment due to the conditioning around here lately. That said, it would be a nice "shock" to see Nolasco in a Marlins uniform at season's end.
What if the Marlins actually start playing good baseball from here on out? They are currently 13-9 since May 30th with healthy players returning. What if Nolasco finds himself the anchor on a re-emerging, young team on the rise? Wouldn't it also be a pretty nice olive branch to extend to Stanton in the hopes of signing him long term? All in all, keeping Nolasco would go a lot further in the PR department with fans and perhaps in keeping a guy like Stanton - who isn't scheduled to be a free agent until 2016 anyway.
Which do the Marlins need more? Another mid-level prospect to bounce around in the minors? Or a genuinely good PR move to keep a player who has been on your roster and a part of your organization since 2005?
Perhaps a re-signed Nolasco would go a lot further for stabilizing and energizing this franchise than trading him away would. It's not signing LeBron James or Chris Bosh or even Ray Allen, for that matter. But it would be a start.
John Ricard has been writing about his hometown Marlins, Heat, and Dolphins for the past 9 years. He is the founder and chief writer over at MarlinsNation.com and MiamiHeatwave.com. For his daily bread, he teaches Latin and has excavated in Italy several times.
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