Sunday, July 7, 2013

Dodgers add rotation depth with Nolasco

The Dodgers made the first "splash" in the trade deadline season by acquiring Ricky Nolasco from the Marlins on Saturday.  The Dodgers have agreed to take on the remaining $5.5 million of his contract, which surely was a huge breaking point of the deal.  In exchange, the Marlins get three minor league pitchers in Josh Wall, Steven Adams, and Angel Sanchez.

In addition, the Dodgers continue to add to their international signing bonus with another $197,000.  They did a similar move when they swapped Matt Guerrier for Carlos Marmol a few days ago.  For a team that claims it's serious about rebuilding the international market, this is a good and logical step.

Over the past week or two, the Dodgers have been linked to Nolasco, along with possibly Matt Garza.  I imagine the price to get Nolasco was cheaper, as getting someone like Garza perhaps meant parting with guys like Stephen Fife and Matt Magill.  That's not a big price either, but giving away three minor leaguers who don't figure into the Dodgers' long-term plans makes more sense.

This season, Nolasco is 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and 90 K's in 112 1/3 innings.  You can practically throw the record out the window when you pitch for a team like the Marlins, who would be a decent Triple-A team at best.  How anyone in the world can root for those guys and not go crazy, I have no idea.

The MO for Nolasco his whole career has been "potential," but doesn't seem to live up to it.  He has an overall winning record at 81-72, but with an ERA of 4.44 and WHIP of 1.29.  The positive is that even on a really bad team this season, his numbers (ignore the record) are better.  And that's what made him tradeable.

I like the move, as the Dodgers needed to do something with their 4-5 starters.  Fife has done his part with a 2.76 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in eight starts, so he deserves to keep going.  Chris Capuano, on the other hand, has been bombed his last two outings, and should be moved back to the bullpen as the long reliever.  He's just way too inconsistent, and only getting worse.

I would think the Dodgers can now roll with their rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Nolasco, and Fife.  The focus will mostly turn to improving their bullpen, as adding Marmol is OK, but hardly the only answer.  With the offense much-improved thanks to some rare good health, pitching in the late innings should now be the key issue.

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