Dodgers add accomplished Nolasco to rotation
Los Angeles sends pitching prospects Wall, Ames, Sanchez to Marlins
SAN FRANCISCO -- The Dodgers resumed their role as Major League Baseball's deepest-pocketed buyer Saturday by acquiring Miami right-handed starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco for young pitchers Josh Wall, Steve Ames and Angel Sanchez.
The Dodgers also received international signing bonus slot No. 96 worth $197,000 to allow for the acquisition of additional foreign players, which has become a high priority under new ownership.
"This may not be the only deal we do," said general manager Ned Colletti, who also is looking for relief pitching, even after this week's trade for Carlos Marmol, who should join the club next week.
Nolasco, 30, earns $11.5 million in the last season of a three-year, $26.5 million deal, and the Dodgers will pay the approximately $5 million that remains. Nolasco went 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA for the last-place Marlins.
In six of the previous seven seasons, however, he has double digits in victories. His best season was 2008, when he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA, and he's 81-72 lifetime with a 4.44 ERA.
"He's an accomplished big league starter," said Colletti. "We felt we needed to add starting pitching at this point. There's a benefit to acquiring before we get to the end-of-the-month [Trade Deadline]. That's part of the reason we did it."
Nolasco last started Wednesday and is slated to start again Monday, which is Zack Greinke's day in the rotation. Colletti said a decision hasn't been made on when Nolasco would be inserted into the rotation.
"He's a competitor," said Hanley Ramirez, who passed that opinion on to management before it traded for his former Marlins teammate. "He knows how to pitch, and I think he helps us a lot. He wants to be out there, and he's a good teammate. I was with him six or seven years, and nobody has a complaint about him. A great guy."
Nolasco joins a rotation that also includes Clayton Kershaw and Hyun-Jin Ryu. That would most likely leave Stephen Fife for the final spot and shift Chris Capuano into long relief.
Manager Don Mattingly wouldn't say who will stay in the rotation and who would go, but he had good things to say about Fife even after his 4 1/3-inning start in Saturday's 4-2 loss to the Giants.
"I think he's pitched really well," Mattingly said of Fife. "He's throwing the ball well. He's made a good impression. He's competitive, his stuff is good, he's consistent, he's kept us in games."
The Dodgers are 30-17 in games started by Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu. They are 11-28 in games started by anybody else.
"I'm definitely excited. It's L.A., the team that I grew up going to the games as a kid and stuff," said Nolasco, who grew up in Corona, Calif., an hour from Los Angeles. "It's kind of surreal now, until I'm actually there. It will take time to sink in, but I'm definitely excited. My whole family couldn't be happier.
"I'll try to blend in as quickly as I can."
The rotation has already lost Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett for the season, with Billingsley undergoing Tommy John surgery and Beckett scheduled for surgery to remove a rib and relieve Thoracic outlet syndrome.
"We've liked him, studied him when I was the hitting coach," said Mattingly. "He has pretty good stuff, good breaking stuff. We researched with Hanley and know the kind of guy we're getting. Obviously, we're comfortable with who he is and what we think he can do."
Last year, the Dodgers were similarly active with in-season trades, acquiring pitchers Beckett, Joe Blanton, Brandon League and Randy Choate; infielders Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez and Nick Punto; and outfielders Shane Victorino and Carl Crawford.
Colletti said the international slot money wasn't a key to the deal, as it was in the Marmol trade, but it is an important piece nonetheless.
"We needed to rebuild our international scouting as best we can, it was dormant for a while," he said. "We've doubled our scouting staff the last few months and we've got the financial wherewithal, so any chance to expand, to do more rather than less, and $400,000 [including the Marmol deal money] internationally can go a long way."
Wall, a 26-year-old right-handed reliever, was a second-round Draft pick in 2005. He had brief callups with the Dodgers last year and this season, but he spent most of the two seasons at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA and three saves in 25 appearances.
Ames, a 25-year-old right-handed reliever, was a 17th-round pick out of Gonzaga in 2009, and he was added to the 40-man roster last November. He is 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA and eight saves in 30 games for Albuquerque this year.
Sanchez, a 23-year-old right-handed starter, was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He was 2-7 with a 4.88 ERA in 14 starts at Class A Great Lakes and was recently promoted to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where he has no record and a 3.00 ERA in two appearances (one start).