The Los Angeles Dodgers are up to their old tricks again, making moves trying to improve their chances to make the postseason.
According to the Dodgers' official Twitter account, they are getting Ricky Nolasco from the Miami Marlins for Steven Ames, Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez.
It is no surprise that the Marlins have dealt Nolasco, who was making the most money on the roster at $11.5 million and in the final year of his deal. It should also come as no shock he is moving to L.A., since he is from Corona, Calif.
Here is our full breakdown of the deal for both sides and what it means looking to the future, both this year and beyond.
Los Angeles Dodgers: B+
Coming into the season, we kept hearing about how much starting pitching the Dodgers had. They had Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at the top, with Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano, Josh Beckett and Chad Billingsley behind them.
As so often happens when we assume a team has too much pitching, things quickly broke down.
Kershaw and Ryu have been doing their part, but Greinke battled a shoulder injury suffered in the infamous fight with Carlos Quentin. He also hasn't been very good on the days he has pitched, posting a 4.30 ERA and a 52-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 69 innings.
Capuano regressed just like a lot of people assumed he would after posting a 3.72 ERA last year to look more like the pitcher he was before the outlier season. Beckett is having neck surgery that will end his season. Billingsley has had elbow problems for a long time and finally had to get Tommy John surgery earlier this year.
Depth is a huge issue for the Dodgers' pitching staff right now, making Nolasco an even bigger priority than any other area the team could possibly look to upgrade right now.
There is some risk attached to Nolasco, since this is his first season with an ERA under 4.48 in five years, and his stuff is average at best. But right now, the team just needs someone who can give it innings more than anything else.
Of course, if you go deeper into the stats, you can see that Nolasco is throwing better than he has in a long time. His strikeout rate has increased from 5.89 in 2012 to 7.21 this year. His walk rate has fallen from 2.21 to 2.00, and his Fielding Independent ERA this season is better than his actual ERA (3.51).
The international spending money being shipped to L.A. gives the team a little more flexibility if it chooses to use it, but considering how thin the market for players is this year—not to mention, the fact it already invested $1 million into shortstop Lucas Tirado—it may be done with major moves in that area.
In exchange for Nolasco, the Dodgers really didn't give up anything of value. Wall, Ames and Sanchez are all in their mid-20s, have incredibly low-ceilings as relievers and aren't likely to contribute much in the big leagues.
Wall is the only one with big league experience under his belt, pitching in six games this season with an ERA of 18.00 and a 7-6 strikeout-to-walk ratio in seven innings.
Miami Marlins: D+
The Marlins may have had limited options with Nolasco, but this reeks of—surprise, surprise—yet another salary dump for a team that has become famous for them in the past nine months.
This one isn't quite as egregious as the fire sale from last winter since this team is going nowhere fast, Nolasco is in the final year of his deal and had no chance of returning to the team. But just looking at the value returned for one of the better and more durable starters on the market this summer is embarrassing.
Wall, Ames and Sanchez are strictly relievers.
Wall has the most potential of anyone in the deal, with a big frame and power fastball-slider combination that could be tempting to try in the rotation, but his command and control are such that he works best in short bursts.
Ames could turn out to be the best part of the deal for the Marlins. He is a bit undersized for a righty at 6'1", which is why he can't start, but his ability to hit his spots with an above-average fastball that sits in the low 90s with a decent slider help him get by.
Sanchez has been starting in Low-A and High-A this season, with mixed results because his command is still questionable, and the off-speed stuff remains a work-in progress, even though he is striking out more than a hitter per inning.
However, considering that Sanchez is physically mature at 23 years old and going up against players younger than him in the Midwest League before his promotion, you would hope to see something better than a 4.88 ERA and 108 baserunners allowed in 72 innings.
According to Joe Frisaro of MLB.com, Sanchez is the player the Marlins are highest on and was crucial to the deal.
Working with a power fastball that sits in the mid-90s and a slider that can look like a plus pitch at times, Sanchez is an exciting arm for the Marlins to add. But again, thanks to an inability to throw quality strikes consistently, it is hard to see him being more than a reliever.
Of course, when you have a roster like what the Marlins do and are as deep into a rebuild as they are, just adding arms to your system might be the top priority at the moment.
This does seem like a knee-jerk move to make, especially with the number of teams who would be in the market for pitching as we move closer to the deadline.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports noted that the Chicago Cubs trading of Scott Feldman to the Baltimore Orioles earlier this week may have hurt the market and asking price on Nolasco.
Ironically, Rosenthal also said that the Marlins were looking for prospects and not players who have made it to the big leagues and struggled but still have upside. Miami did get prospects, but the Cubs got a much better package for Feldman.
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