Winners of 11 of 13 games, having made up six games on the NL West leaders in that time, and relevant again in the NL, the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday traded for Miami Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco.
The Dodgers acquired Nolasco in exchange for minor league right-handed pitching prospects Steven Ames, Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez. The Dodgers also acquired an international signing bonus slot valued at $197,000 as part of the deal.
Nolasco, who can be a free agent at the end of the season, joins a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu and either Stephen Fife or Chris Capuano. The trade speaks to the Dodgers' quest for depth, as the rookie Fife has a 2.21 ERA in six June starts, and Dodgers' starters have been more reliable lately. Capuano has been ineffective in his last two starts, however, against the Philadelphia Phillies and at Colorado, and could be moved to the bullpen.
Due about $5.5 million over the remainder of the season, Nolasco had been a popular trade candidate in the NL West. The San Francisco Giants, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres, along with the Dodgers, were seeking starting pitching in what is the tightest division race – end to end – in baseball. Healthy again, the Dodgers moved from last place to a second-place tie, 3½ games behind the Diamondbacks, in two weeks.
In 18 starts for the Marlins, Nolasco is 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA. His run support in those 18 starts was the third lowest in the National League. Only Washington's Stephen Strasburg and Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett have received less.
Nolasco's regular turn would come around Monday, when Greinke is scheduled to pitch for the Dodgers. Capuano's spot comes Tuesday at Arizona.
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