Ever since the Dodgers acquired Ricky Nolasco from the Marlins, the right-hander has been lights out. Being from the LA area got Nolasco excited about the chance to pitch at Dodger Stadium and his 8-1 record with a 2.07 ERA is evidence enough he loves to wear Dodger blue.
However, Nolasco will be a free agent at the end of the season and the Dodgers will have pitchers Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett on the way back from injury in 2014. Chris Capuano will leave as a free agent, but if Nolasco is to return, there would be six pitchers for five spots heading into spring training.
Tim Dierkes of MLBTradeRumors.com discussed what type of contract he expects Nolasco to make on the open market:
An innings guy these days will probably require an AAV in the $10-13MM range. Ultimately I believe Nolasco will sign a three-year, $36MM deal.
In the article, Dierkes compares the contract Nolasco might net similar to those of Mark Buehrle and Edwin Jackson. Buehrle received a four-year $58 million, while Jackson got four-years and $52 million.
Having a surplus of pitching is never a bad thing as the Dodgers started spring training with eight starters and quickly needed to make a trade for another.
When paying for pitching, it’s important to get a guy that’s durable and also eats up innings, something that Nolasco has done his entire career. Since he became a regular starter with the Marlins in 2008, Nolasco has made an average of 31 starts per season and thrown an average of 189.5 innings.
Ultimately, I’d expect the Dodgers and Nolasco to reach an agreement on a contract at seasons end as the former Marlin is flourishing as a member of his favorite team growing up.
In case you missed it, be sure to find out more about the impending signing of Alexander Guerrero.