Speculation still centered on Nolasco

ATLANTA — When Ricky Nolasco exited after five-plus innings in his start last Friday against the Padres, it appeared he could be making his final appearance with the Marlins.

But now that he has been announced as Miami’s starter on Wednesday night at Atlanta, it is evident the 30-year-old will be with the club at least a few more days.

The subject of constant trade rumors, Nolasco is expected to be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. It’s just a matter of when.

Right now, nothing is imminent.

One source said, “There are many lines in the water, but nothing has been lured in.”

On Sunday, Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest spoke generally about Nolasco to Jim Bowden and Jeff Joyce during an MLB Network Radio appearance on Sirius/XM.

“As far as all the rumors, we’re getting to that time of the year when this stuff starts to fly,” Beinest said in his radio segment. “Obviously there’s been a lot of stuff out there on Ricky and understandably. He’s a would-be free agent and making a lot of money here. People will speculate we have some good young pitching coming and he may not be part of the program. All those things are fair.

“We’ll see what happens. I’m not going to get out there and talk about everything, especially rumors.”

The Dodgers are believed to be the frontrunners for Nolasco, a Southern California native who would be an ideal fit.

Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com added the Rockies have offered two decent prospects, but they are hesitant to pick up all of the remaining $5.7 million owed to Nolasco this season.

Nolasco is making $11.5 million in the last of his three-year, $26.5 million contract.

The Giants, Orioles, Rangers, Pirates and Red Sox all have had some measure of interest.

Clearly, money is an issue. Not every team at this point is willing to absorb nearly $6 million. The Dodgers appear the most willing, but then the Marlins may risk getting a lesser prospect in exchange.

Most likely Nolasco will be moved by the All-Star Break because the organization is getting Henderson Alvarez back into the rotation after the right-hander has missed all of the season with shoulder inflammation.

The Marlins have other young starting pitchers they want to see, and Nolasco is not part of their long-term future.

— Joe Frisaro

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