Nolasco rumors picking up steam

ATLANTA — Everything is lined up for Ricky Nolasco to start for the Marlins against the Braves at Turner Field on Wednesday night.

Still, those plans could easily change.

The Marlins have been actively shopping Nolasco, and a deal could possibly get done prior to first pitch.

The Dodgers appear to be the frontrunner among more than a half-dozen teams that have expressed some level of interest. And indications are, if it is not Los Angeles, Nolasco still could be headed West.

The Rockies, Giants and Padres also have made inquires. On the East Coast, Baltimore has been active in discussions.

With Nolasco, it is not a matter of will he get traded, it’s when.

Around the Marlins’ clubhouse, many thought Nolasco was going to be dealt last week, prior to his June 28 start against the Padres.

The Marlins rotation also is prepared to move forward without Nolasco. Henderson Alvarez is scheduled to be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list to start against the Braves on Thursday.

As of now, the rest of the rotation has been bumped back one day. Jacob Turner is scheduled for Friday at St. Louis, followed by Nathan Eovaldi (Saturday) and Jose Fernandez (Sunday). If Alvarez is pushed up to start on Wednesday, the rest of the rotation could also move up a day and still be on five-days’ rest.

The Marlins will have to make a roster move to reinstate Alvarez either Wednesday or Thursday.

There is rain in the forecast in Atlanta for Wednesday and Thursday. So, the rotation still could be impacted if there is a rainout or two.

As of Wednesday morning, Miami’s immediate focus is on completing a deal for Nolasco.

At issue is the remaining $5.7 million on his $11.5 million this season.

Nolasco, a free agent after the season, is completing a three-year, $26.5 million contract.

On a last-place Miami team, Nolasco has pitched better than his 4-8 record.

The 30-year-old right-hander has a 3.93 ERA, and he’s struck out 83 while walking just 25 in 105 1/3 innings.

The Marlins acquired Nolasco from the Cubs at the 2005 Winter Meetings.

Like now, the Marlins then were going through a transition period. Nolasco was a highly-touted prospect in the Cubs’ system. He was dealt to Miami along with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto for Juan Pierre.

In his eighth season, Nolasco has established a number of Marlins records, including wins (80), games started (196), innings pitched (1,218 2/3) and strikeouts (994).

From the start of Spring Training, it was evident Nolasco was a candidate to be traded by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Rumors the Southern California native could be moved picked up in recent weeks. And in his last two starts, Nolasco has had his struggles. He gave up six runs (five earned) on a season-high 11 hits in a June 28 loss to the Padres.

On June 21 at San Francisco, he alowed three earned runs on nine hits in 5 2/3 innings in a no-decision.

Despite his recent troubles, a National League scout said: “He did nothing to not get himself traded.”

– Joe Frisaro

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