Marlins “gauging interest” in Ricky Nolasco and Leo Nunez

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Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins have been trying to work out a long-term contract extension all year, so it’s not surprising to see Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald report that the team is “gauging interest” in Nolasco at the winter meetings.

According to Spencer they’re also taking calls on closer Leo Nunez, but “are not committed to trading either” and “would have to be overwhelmed by any offers.”

Nolasco is under team control for two more seasons, while Nunez is arbitration eligible for the final time and will hit the open market as a free agent next offseason. It makes sense to deal Nunez, because his save total overrates him in the arbitration process and could lead to a 2011 salary of $5 million or so. However, dealing Nolasco would be a mistake unless the Marlins can get a significant return.

Nolasco has a mediocre 4.45 ERA in 716 career innings, but his secondary numbers have consistently been much better and he’s still just 28 years old. Among all pitchers to make at least 75 starts in the past three seasons Nolasco ranks fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio, eighth in strikeout rate, and 12th in wins. He’s very close to emerging as a top-of-the-rotation starter.

Tim Beckham to miss six to seven weeks after undergoing core muscle surgery

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Dan Connolly of BaltimoreBaseball.com reports that Orioles third baseman Tim Beckham underwent core muscle surgery in Philadelphia on Thursday and is expected to miss the next six to seven weeks.

Beckham, 28, was originally diagnosed with a strained left groin. He sustained the injury during spring training and reaggravated it on Monday against the Indians.

Beckham was off to a slow start, batting .179/.247/.262 in 93 plate appearances. Danny Valencia and Jace Peterson should handle the hot corner while Beckham is out.