It looks like Ricky Nolasco could be looking at his last year with the Miami Marlins.
After trading obscure players such as Edward Mujica and dealing superstars such as Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson in a 12-player fire sale, the Miami Marlins still have players currently on the roster who probably won't be part of the organization in 2014.
When the Marlins open spring training next week, 50 of the 71 players in camp will be under team control through at least 2015.
However, players always come and go. It's inevitable, especially in Miami.
In fact, starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco is expecting to be traded by the July 31 trade deadline, according to the Miami Herald. Matt Sosnick, Nolasco's agent, told ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick in December his client wanted to be traded after the Marlins gutted the team following a series of trades, which included the aforementioned 12-player fire sale.
Furthermore, Nolasco will earn $11.5 million—nearly $9 million more than the second-highest paid player on the team, Placido Polanco—and will be a free agent at the end of the year. Add it all up, and it is almost a guarantee Nolasco won't be with the Marlins in 2014.
Nolasco might not be alone, though.
Greg Dobbs is another free agent—one of four on the Marlins' 40-man roster—and he seems the most expendable. Dobbs will earn $1.5 million this year as a backup corner infielder whose main role is to be a quality left-handed pinch hitter.
In addition to Dobbs, many—if not all—of the 17 minor league free agents in camp probably won't return in 2014.
Now, some might point to Austin Kearns as evidence to refute this claim, since Kearns earned a spot on the 2012 Marlins as a non-roster invitee and re-signed with the club last month in a similar deal. However, cases such as Kearns are the exception, not the norm.
While Nolasco, Dobbs and the 17 minor league free agents probably won't be back next year, the futures of many other Marlins are up in the air as well.
Polanco signed a one-year deal in December to be the starting third baseman, but he is 37 years old, and president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest told the Miami Herald he doesn't think Polanco is an everyday player. That said, Polanco told the Sun-Sentinel he signed with the Marlins because he wanted to play at home in Miami, where Polanco has been a resident since 1991.
Juan Pierre is the last Marlins free agent, but it is unknown if he will be back next season. He was the leadoff hitter and patrolled center field for the organization's 2003 World Series championship squad, but he signed a one-year deal at a measly $1.6 million this season to be the team's left fielder. Like Polanco, Pierre has made South Florida his home for the last decade.
Furthermore, there are five players who, although they are under team control, might be too expensive to keep if their production doesn't match what they could earn in the arbitration process.
Ryan Webb (3.65 ERA in 2011-12 compared to 3.19 in 2009-10) and Mike Dunn (4.04 ERA in 2011-12 compared to 2.74 in 2009-10) have each regressed in their two seasons with the Marlins,
Chris Coghlan (195 games since 2010) has been injury-prone since winning the 2009 National League Rookie of the Year award. Wade LeBlanc is expendable if he doesn't win the final spot in the starting rotation, and Justin Ruggiano (.313 batting average, 13 home runs, 36 RBI in 2012; .226 hitter, six home runs and 23 RBI prior to 2012) must prove 2012 was no fluke.
Will Giancarlo Stanton be in a Marlins uniform in 2014?
Finally, there is the elephant in the room: 23-year-old All-Star Giancarlo Stanton.
The Miami Herald's Barry Jackson said that an official in close touch with the Marlins thinks the club will consider trading Stanton after the season. While that might happen, the Marlins should wait until after the 2014 season, when Stanton is two years away from free agency.