Dodgers raising stakes in NL West poker game?


Ricky Nolasco throws a pitch.
How anxious do you think Ricky Nolasco is to trade this ugly orange jersey for Dodger blue? (Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Surprise, surprise … there is some trending news coming out of Los Angeles involving the Dodgers!

That is obviously my poor attempt at sarcasm, because the Dodgers have been shakier this season than a tightrope stretched across the Grand Canyon. The Dodgers have been in the National League West cellar most of the season, which has been news after the new owners forked over $200 million to build a winner.

The Dodgers also have been newsworthy this season because they have had 14 players spend time on the disabled list. At times, the Dodgers have more closely resembled a M.A.S.H unit rather than a baseball team.

For the past few weeks, the Dodgers have been in the news because of “Puigmania.” This phenomenon is a result of the electricity created by 22-year-old rookie outfielder Yasiel Puig, who has helped make Los Angeles relevant in a good way.

However, this week, Puig isn’t the reason that the Dodgers have been making headlines. Word has broken in Miami and Los Angeles that the Dodgers are making a strong push for Marlins right-handed pitcher Ricky Nolasco.

With all of the injuries the Dodgers have endured to their starting pitchers this season, the Nolasco news shouldn’t be surprising. Miami is a minor league baseball team at best, and they don’t want to have to pay Nolasco the remaining $6 million on his 2013 contract.

Nolasco, pitching for an atrocious Miami team, has posted a 4-7 record with a 3.68 ERA this season. He was born about 25 miles from Chavez Ravine and would surely love to get out of the cesspool that is the Marlins and come home to Los Angeles.

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I’m “all in” on the Dodgers landing Nolasco. Is he a frontline rotation guy who will push Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke for the No. 1 spot on the mound? No. However, Nolasco is a 31-year-old innings-eater who is a career 80-71 pitcher.

Slot Nolasco after Kershaw, Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu and that’s one of the most solid 1-4 rotations in the game. Another reason I support the Dodgers trading for Nolasco is because two teams in their division are also interested in him – the San Francisco Giants and the San Diego Padres.

Landing a solid starting pitcher and hurting the competition in the NL West ain’t a bad thing! Another bonus in a Nolasco trade is the fact that the Marlins are more interested in dumping salary than in robbing the Los Angeles farm system. The Dodgers can absorb Nolasco’s $6 million salary more quickly than another comeback tour announcement by a washed up boy band.

The Dodgers are not going to give up Joc Pederson, Zach Lee, Scott Van Slyke, Corey Seager or Chris Reed for Nolasco. Los Angeles can land Nolasco for several lesser prospects and the salary addition.

So, in this game of NL West poker, the Dodgers look like they’re about to see the hands of the Giants and Padres and raise them one Ricky Nolasco.

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