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Could Ricky Nolasco have thrown his last pitch as a Marlin?
For a guy scheduled to make four times more money this year than the second-highest paid player on his own team, it's no wonder Nolasco finds himself on the trade market every day. Heck, even his agent, Matt Sosnick, went on the record last month to say his client wants out of Miami, according to ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
Nolasco, the franchise's all-time leader with 76 wins, will earn $11.5 million in 2013 in the last year of a three-year, $26.5 million deal, and he is the only Marlins player who will earn more than $3 million this year. Third baseman Placido Polanco is the next highest-paid player after he recently signed a one-year, $2.75 million deal.
Since Sosnick's remarks—and even before then, it was clear Nolasco would be the only high-priced player left on the team after the Marlins traded away Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Johnson, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio to Toronto in a 12-player fire sale—Nolasco has been linked to teams with a need for starting pitching or cheaper alternatives.
Two weeks ago, ESPN.com's Jim Bowden tweeted that according to his source, the Marlins would welcome a Nolasco for Peter Bourjos-type trade. Hint: The Marlins want a player who won't be arbitration-eligible until after the 2013 season or beyond. Other Los Angeles Angels player who fit the bill are Mark Trumbo and Garrett Richards.
The Marlins could also package Nolasco in a Stanton trade—if one were to happen. This type of trade was executed after the 2005 season when the Marlins sent Lowell and the $18 million remaining on his four-year, $32 million contract, along with Josh Beckett and Guillermo Mota to the Boston Red Sox for Ramirez, Anibal Sanchez, Jesus Delgado and Harvey Garcia.
In fact, Bowden suggested the Marlins send Nolasco and Stanton to the Texas Rangers for Jurickson Profar, Mike Olt and Martin Perez.
Now, there are two hurdles to a potential Nolasco trade.
The first is Nolasco would be in the last year of his contract, thus making him a rental. Nolasco's value will continue to drop unless he reproduces the first half of his 2008 season, when he went 10-4 with a 3.70 ERA. If that happens, Nolasco could be a hot commodity.
The second issue with a Nolasco trade is the players' union. After the fire sale in November, the union said it will monitor the Marlins following their payroll purge to make sure the organization is using their revenue-sharing money to improve the team.
"We understand and we're not surprised at the commissioner's decision to approve the trade," union head Michael Weiner told the Associated Press. "We'll be monitoring the Marlins for compliance with the Basic Agreement throughout the 2013 season."