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.
The Orioles have inked shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract, MLB.com’s Joe Trezza reported Saturday. The deal comes with an invitation to spring training and will allow Escobar to earn $700,000 in the majors if he breaks camp with the team (via Jon Heyman of MLB Network). The team has yet to formally announce the agreement.
Escobar, 32, completed an eight-year run with the Royals in 2018. No longer the .280-average, 3.0-fWAR player of seasons past, he hit several career lows after batting .231/.279/.313 with four home runs, eight stolen bases (in 10 chances), and a .593 OPS through 531 plate appearances last year. His defensive ratings also took a hit, and FanGraphs pegged him as the fourth-worst shortstop in the majors after he accumulated -12 DRS over the course of the season, only slightly higher than the Orioles/Dodgers’ Manny Machado, Mets’ Amed Rosario, and Red Sox’ Xander Bogaerts.
Still, Heyman holds that Escobar is being considered for the starting gig this spring and could yet prove an upgrade over top prospects and infield candidates Richie Martin and Drew Jackson. At the very least, the veteran shortstop figures to stabilize the position given Martin and Jackson’s relative inexperience, as both infielders played to varying results in Double-A Tulsa last year and have yet to break into the majors. Should either player earn consideration for the position in camp, however, Escobar might still work his way onto the Opening Day roster in a utility role as he saw some time at third base, second base, and center field in 2018.