Cubs Implications of the Ricky Nolasco Deal

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July 7, 2013 by Ryan S

The Marlins traded P Ricky Nolasco and international pool money to the Dodgers yesterday.  In return, the Dodgers gave up three

Ricky Nolasco

Ricky Nolasco (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

pitching prospects and took on the rest of Nolasco’s salary for the 2013 season.  Nolasco is 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA so far this season.

What does all of this mean for Garza and the Cubs?  Well, let me try and explain with some outlined points.

1. Matt Garza had been generally considered to be a better available starting pitching option on the market right now.

Since Garza has been regarded as more valuable, the return on Nolasco should set a floor for the Cubs and other teams to gauge exactly how much Garza is worth.

2. The Dodgers gave up Stephen Ames (25), Josh Wall (26) and Angel Sanchez (23) in the deal.

Ames, Wall and Sanchez were all bubbling around top 20 in the Dodgers organization before the start of the 2013 season.  The Marlins will not be contending this season, and they do not have a lot to build around, so they probably wanted some young pitchers that they think can compete for them in two or three years.

Ames and Wall have been in Triple-A and thus should be nearly major league ready.  Sanchez has been in Single-A, and is more of the projected type for a couple years down the road.

3. The Dodgers picked up the remainder of Nolasco’s contract, equating to $5.7 million.

That’s not exactly chump change.  And the Dodgers’ willingness to take on that money ended up saving them from dealing some more highly ranked prospects.  As it is, the Marlins still got three relatively good prospects from the Dodgers for Nolasco, who once again is considered as being worth less than Garza in a trade this season.

Now, there is also the addition of $197,000 in international pool money that is going from the Marlins to the Dodgers, but that alone should not have clouded the return too much.  So what exactly does this mean for the Cubs?

Well, the Cubs will be trading Garza quite obviously.  Since they expect to compete in 2014 or 2015, I would expect Theo and Co. to try and net as highly ranked prospects as possible.  That means that I do not believe they will let another team take on Garza’s remaining salary (about $5 million).

The highest return the Cubs will get is if they pay the remainder of his salary.  Especially given that he will likely be hard to re-sign at the end of the season.  So what can the Cubs get for Garza?  My guess is at the low end, three top-20 prospects in an organization.  It’s also possible that the Cubs could get a couple that are much more highly ranked.  I think they could definitely net a top 100 prospect in this deal.

One interesting thought that I had to maximize the return is to involve closer Kevin Gregg in a deal.  He is also very likely to be dealt, but since he does not have the best track record and he’s 35, it would be easy to make a case that he is not worth very much. However, he has absolutely been killing it this year, with a 1.53 ERA, 0.989 WHIP and 15/16 save opportunities.

Since he likely will not be worth a ton by himself, adding him to a trade with Garza could make the Cubs winners in a big way this trade deadline.  Now, will that happen?  Unlikely, but definitely something to consider.  That’s all for now, and go Cubs!

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