After watching the Marlins dismantle their roster over the past few months, Ricky Nolasco’s agent, Matt Sosnick told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick today that his client wants to be traded:
“Ricky and I have spoken a lot since the end of the season,” Sosnick said. “Just watching the way the offseason has transpired for the Marlins and the moves they’ve made, he and I agree that he would probably be better served playing somewhere else. If he had his druthers, he would pitch for somebody other than the Marlins in 2013 and beyond.”
Sosnick declined to say whether Nolasco made a formal trade request to the team, but going public with it is about as official as these things can get. Nolasco currently projects as the team’s highest-paid player next season at $11.5 million, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see him traded, but one wonders if the Marlins will keep him around so that the MLBPA doesn’t go bonkers. Yunel Escobar is under contract for $5 million next season, but he’s also a candidate to be moved. If both Nolasco and Escobar are dealt, Adeiny Hechavarria ($1.75 million) would project to be their highest-paid player. At least if my math is correct. Yikes.
Nolasco, 29, posted a 4.48 ERA and 125/47 K/BB ratio over 191 innings this past season. He’s set to become a free agent next offseason.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉