If you had to make a list of the players most likely to be traded before the July 31 deadline, Ricky Nolasco would be at or near the top.
The 30-year-old is in the final year of a three-year, $26.5 million deal with the Miami Marlins, and since the last-place club has no interest in re-signing him, he is going to be dealt. It's only a matter of where. Nolasco has a 3.68 ERA this year and could help out almost any club's rotation.
The fact that Nolasco is owed close to $6 million for the rest of this season will lower his trade value. The Marlins need to keep rebuilding, so the asking price might be two pitching prospects, one in the bottom of a team's top 10 prospects and another lower-tier arm. I'm hearing that the Marlins might be willing to eat a little money if the prospect being offered is significantly better than what other teams have on the table.
Several teams could use Nolasco, including the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers, but I keep hearing he’s probably headed to the National League West, most likely to the Dodgers, Giants or Rockies. Nolasco is from Southern California, so if either the Padres or Dodgers were to trade for him, it is likely that he would be willing to sign an extension and remain with that club beyond this year.
Let’s look at five possible deals to the NL West.
The Padres have one of the strongest farm systems in baseball but have had to deal with a lot of injuries. They will try to trade to win this year because they sense weakness around the divisions. They’re probably not going to deal top prospects such as Max Fried, Austin Hedges, Rymer Liriano or Cory Spangenberg, but they might consider the next group of Robbie Erlin, Joe Wieland, Matt Wisler and Zach Eflin.