Thursday, September 12, 2013

Ricky Nolasco gives the Dodgers a bonafide No. 3 starter for the playoffs

When the Dodgers traded for Ricky Nolasco, I wasn't particularly a fan of the move. They didn't give up a lot of value and talent for him, but I just didn't see the fit.

I'm happy to say I was completely wrong (not the first time, certainly not the last).

Nolasco improved to 8-1 as a Dodger on Monday night by shutting down the soon-to-be-eliminated-from-division-title-contention Arizona Diamondbacks.

In 74 innings, Nolasco has a 2.07 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, 7.1 H/9, 0.6 HR/9, 2.1 BB/9 and a 7.5 K/9. Those are damn good numbers, and numbers that could catapult him ahead of Hyun-Jin Ryu in the Dodgers' postseason rotation. Ryu is having a good second half, but he just missed his last start with a stiff back and is having to adjust to a Major League workload. Nolasco has just been better.

It all depends on matchups, but in a right-handed heavy lineup, Nolasco would likely get the call over Ryu in a Game 3 of a playoff series.

Nolasco is also a free agent after the season. He's a local guy, so there's incentive for him to want to stay with the Dodgers. If the Dodgers can get him back on a 2- or 3-year deal at $10-12 million annually, they'll probably jump all over that.

Nolasco's return depends on if the Dodgers pursue Japanese righty Masahiro Tanaka. Tanaka, 24 (25 in November), is the best Japanese pitcher since Yu Darvish (though, he isn't Darvish-good) and will be a large investment, money-wise.

I'll look at that possibility once the offseason begins. But with the way Nolasco has pitched, the Dodgers might not need a guy like Tanaka.

I'm glad Nolasco is thriving with the Dodgers. Let's just hope he's closer to this version than the version he was from 2009-12.

Photo credit: Not that Bob James, Flickr

1 comment:

  1. Nolasco fits in well with a starting rotation that will breeze the Dodgers thru the playoffs and into the World Series.