Marlins Rumors: Will Ricky Nolasco Be Available?

Earlier this season, there were rumors of teams working to acquire Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco, but most indications were that the Fish didn't have much interest in moving the pitcher. Nolasco is untouchable no more, though, as Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel is reporting that the club will seriously consider trading him this winter.

Frankly, it's quite hard to gauge of what kind of market Nolasco could garner. The 28-year-old hasn't posted an ERA below 4.50 since 2008, but he's routinely posted strong peripherals; his SIERA marks over the past four years have been 3.57, 3.23, 3.37 and 3.64. As far as the metrics are concerned, Nolasco has been one of the most unlucky pitchers in the game over that time period. There's certainly the possibility that some team looks at his peripherals and believes that this is a great buy-low opportunity.

On the other hand, every year that his ERA is significantly higher than his SIERA is an indication that his true talent may be closer to the former. Despite the strong peripheral statistics, Nolasco's posted a 4.76 ERA over his past 90 starts; hitters have a .327 BABIP against him in that time frame and you have to worried that hard contact is simply a function of doing business with Ricky.

Regardless, though, Nolasco would pretty quickly become one of the most intriguing pitchers on the market. He's owed $20 million over the next two years, so he's not necessarily that much cheaper than someone like Wandy Rodriguez, but teams will definitely be intrigued by his combination of youth and strong peripheral performance. Given a less-than-bumping farm system and the need to bolster the 2012 club, the Marlins may be willing to cut ties with Nolasco to add a prospect and free up some payroll.

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