Thursday, November 28, 2013

Nolasco packs his bags for the Twin Cities

He better dress warm.  It's slightly colder in Minnesota than it is in LA.

While Ricky Nolasco might not have gotten the enormous five-year, $80 million deal he was originally seeking (or at least floated out there to inflate his own value), he signed a four-year, $49 million contract with the Twins on Wednesday.  The Twins had an astronomical 5.26 ERA from their starters last season, so you can understand why they're desperate to bring any arms of value into the fold.

Kudos to both Nolasco and the Dodgers on this one.  First, let's give credit to Nolasco for what he brought to the table in LA after being acquired from the Marlins in early July.  The Dodgers went 10-2 in his first 12 starts, as he personally went 8-1.  He was big part of the Dodgers' red hot summer run, and gave them four great starters along with Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

And here's where the Dodgers deserve credit - they recognized that he's probably not that good, as his final few appearances were rather poor.  After going 5-0 with a 1.66 ERA in August, he went 2-2 with a 6.66 ERA in September.  He fell off so badly that he only got one start in the playoffs, losing Game 4 of the NLCS at home against the Cardinals, lasting only four mediocre innings.

Oh ya, he also was skipped over in Game 4 of the NLDS, as Don Mattingly chose to put Kershaw on the mound with only three days of rest.  The same Kershaw who eventually ran out of gas in getting drilled in the NLCS Game 6 to end the season.  Could the two things relate to one another?  Who knows, but you have to wonder.

So, while we all know the Dodgers have incredibly deep pockets, I'm happy to see them stay away from throwing around $50 million at Nolasco for multiple years and instead give Dan Haren $10 million for a year.  It makes much more financial sense, and while Haren won't get as scorching hot as Nolasco did in August, he can still be a very effective 4-5 starter in that rotation.

Good luck to Nolasco in Minnesota, who most likely becomes their #1 starter by default.

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