After tackling the free agent position players for Los Angeles earlier in the week, it’s time to take a look at the pitchers up for renewal in part three of our four-part series.

Here are three starting pitchers the Dodgers have decisions to make for the 2014 season:

Ricky Nolasco

Coming to the Dodgers as part of a mid-season trade with the Marlins, Nolasco was fantastic for the first two months of his homecoming.

In his first 12 starts, Nolasco allowed just 17 earned runs for an ERA of 2.06 while striking out 65 hitters.

Unfortunately for Nolasco, his season didn’t just end there.

In his last three starts of the regular season, Nolasco allowed 17 runs in just 12 innings before allowing three runs in just four innings of his only playoff start — a loss.

Nolasco is a tough case to predict for the Dodgers, because while he was great for so long, it’s hard to ignore the terrible ending to the season.

Heading into next season, the top of the Dodgers’ rotation is set with Kershaw, Greinke and Ryu, but there are major question marks in the No. 4 and 5 spots.

The Dodgers do have Chad Billingsley and Josh Beckett under contract for next season, but both guys missed most of this season and have careers full of injury problems.

I think Nolasco’s fate in Los Angeles is 100-percent dependent on whether they decide to trade for a pitcher this off-season such as David Price. With a lack of quality arms in free agency (Matt Garza and Ervin Santana top the list), Nolasco could be the best option for LA to bring back as a fourth starter.

Then again, that also could mean his price tag rises to the point where Colletti thinks twice about paying Nolasco too much.

Prediction: Re-signed

Chris Capuano

The only pitcher with a mutual option, the Dodgers have to decide whether to pay Capuano $8 million or buy him out for $1 million.

Talk about an easy decision.

Capuano was never expected to be a star in Los Angeles, but he was fantastic in his first season in 2012. Unfortunately, the magic wore off and he regressed to being a mediocre starter, like he has been for most of his career, posting a 4.26 ERA this season.

Prediction: Bought out of his option

Edinson Volquez

Second in baseball in earned runs despite pitching just 170 innings, Volquez was one of the worst pitchers in the league this season.

How he made it to LA or why he was on a playoff roster are beyond most people, but the moral of the story is that Volquez simply isn’t very good. He posted a 5.71 ERA this season with a WHIP of 1.59 — numbers that could have him out of baseball next season.

Prediction: Not re-signed (Although he is a great candidate for the “Ned Colletti dumbfounding move of the off-season”)

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In case you missed it, here’s the Dodgers pool celebration, PLUS Yasiel Puig’s celebration dance off!

http://youtu.be/LknQOqL7uME

 

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