Marlins may look to trade right-hander Ricky Nolasco

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The Marlins aren’t having the best offseason.  They gave out a three-year, $18 million contract to 30-year-old catcher John Buck, a .243/.301/.421 career hitter, they got very little in return when they traded power-hitting second baseman Dan Uggla to the Braves, and now they’re having trouble locking up one of their top arbitration-eligible pitchers.

According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the Marlins have “arrived at a stalemate” in their long-term contract negotiations with right-hander Ricky Nolasco.

Nolasco is under team control for the 2011 and 2012 seasons, but his price is about to shoot up via arbitration and the Fish have been notoriously cheap in similar situations in the past.  Which is why Morosi suspects that Nolasco might be traded.

The 28-year-old posted a solid 4.51 ERA and 1.28 WHIP over 26 starts for the Marlins in 2010, striking out 147 batters against just 33 walks.  If he is indeed going to be shopped, many teams will come calling.  Quality starting pitching is always in desire around the league, even more so in this week free agent market.

If the Marlins can’t find a good trade package for him, they’ll ink him to a one-year deal worth around $6 million.  He made $3.8 million in 2010 through arbitration.

UPDATE: Nolasco’s agent, Matt Sosnick, told MLB Trade Rumors that he is still “optimistic” about working out a long-term contract.  The Marlins would surely prefer that, if the price is right.

Hunter Pence is mashing for the Rangers

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Hunter Pence was thought to be on his way to retirement after a lackluster 2018 season with the Giants. As he entered his mid-30’s, Pence spent a considerable amount of time on the injured list, playing in 389 out of 648 possible regular season games with the Giants from 2015-18.

Pence, however, kept his career going, inking a minor league deal with the Rangers in February. He performed very well in spring training, earning a spot on the Opening Day roster. Pence hasn’t stopped hitting.

Entering Monday night’s game against the Mariners, Pence was batting .299/.358/.619 with eight home runs and 28 RBI in 109 plate appearances, mostly as a DH. Statcast agrees that Pence has been mashing the ball. He has an average exit velocity of 93.3 MPH this season, which would obliterate his marks in each of the previous four seasons since Statcast became a thing. His career average exit velocity is 89.8 MPH. He has “barreled” the ball 10.4 percent of the time, well above his 6.2 percent average.

What Pence did to a baseball in the seventh inning of Monday’s game, then, shouldn’t come as a surprise.

That’s No. 9 on the year for Pence. Statcast measured it at 449 feet and 108.3 MPH off the bat. Not only is Pence not retired, he may be a lucrative trade chip for the Rangers leading up to the trade deadline at the end of July.