Nolasco grateful for time in Miami, deal to West Coast
Pitcher appreciative Marlins considered preference before trade to Dodgers
ST. LOUIS -- Early Sunday morning, Ricky Nolasco was at Busch Stadium cleaning out his locker and offering his goodbyes to his now former teammates.
The Marlins on Saturday night completed a trade that sent Nolasco to the Dodgers for three pitching prospects -- Steve Ames, Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez.
Nolasco, given his big league break by the Marlins in 2006, departs as the organization's all-time wins leader. He was taking a 2 p.m. CT flight out of St. Louis, where he will join the Dodgers at Arizona.
The 30-year-old right-hander plans on heading back to Miami over the All-Star break to pack up the rest of his belongings. Nolasco, a Southern California native, is elated to be heading home. He's also appreciative that the Marlins worked out a deal that accommodated both sides.
"They were really happy to do that for me at the same time, while they were still getting everything they needed in return," Nolasco said. "I can't thank them enough for even thinking that way, and that gesture. It is greatly appreciated."
This was truly a trade that worked out ideally for both team and player. Nolasco had been loyal and professional all season, knowing he was likely going to be traded. For his service and attitude, the Marlins took his wishes to pitch on the West Coast into consideration while also getting back what they wanted.
"I thank them a lot for even thinking of making that gesture," Nolasco said. "For it to happen, it is awesome. I can't be more thankful."
Nolasco turns the organization over to a young, promising roster, filled with talented players looking to grow up together.
Nolasco was initially scheduled to pitch Monday against the Braves at Marlins Park. Now, Kevin Slowey is filling the rotation spot, where he is expected to remain until the All-Star break. In the second half, the Marlins are expected to call up at least a couple of starting pitchers. Tom Koehler, Brad Hand, Anthony DeSclafani, Adam Conley and Brian Flynn are all possibilities.
"These guys have definitely got a lot to look forward to," Nolasco said. "They've played really well of late, especially with the young starting pitching they have.
"Guys came back off the DL, and they've really started to swing the bat. They've got a good thing going here. It's unfortunate I can't be here to be part of that any more. But I'm still going to be pulling for those guys in here, every time we're not playing them. So I'll be watching every day."
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, also from Southern California, is close friends with Nolasco, and he is happy for the veteran right-hander.
"He's going to the perfect spot for him," Stanton said. "To be able to go to where you want without having a choice is always a little extra bonus. He'll have fun. It won't be a tough transition for him. It's where he wanted to go."
Asked if he is jealous, Stanton responded: "No!"
Stanton is part of the building process and of a group of players looking to create its own identity.
"It's fun to watch," the slugger said. "We've played better together. I feel like we're in more games than we were last year and having more losses. It's just like we're always so close."
To make improvements and develop into a contending team, Stanton says it is a matter of how the players react. Do they accept losing, saying they are inexperienced, or do they have the urgency to win?
"Do you accept we're young, we should be losing, or do you sit back and figure out why, and why teams like this [Cardinals] are so efficient?" Stanton said. "It's just all how you react to it."
Marlins not seeking out more trades, but will listen
ST. LOUIS -- First order of business for Marlins management was trading Ricky Nolasco. Now that the deal is done, what's next?
The Marlins remain open for business on the trade front, but they are not being proactive at this time. They completed a high-profile deal on Saturday night, moving Nolasco to the Dodgers for three pitching prospects.
Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said conversations with clubs are continuing.
"We have a lot of good young players that people are interested in, but we're interested in them also," Beinfest said. "We kind of see now what we can become, and it is exciting. The phones will be open. We're by no means taking the rest of the month off. There could be more deals."
Beinfest didn't address any specific players. But teams have made inquires on relievers Steve Cishek, Mike Dunn, Chad Qualls and Ryan Webb.
Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton is not on the market.
It is unlikely Cishek or Dunn will be moved, especially Cishek, unless another club greatly overspends.
Surprised Ames, Wall ready for shot with Marlins
ST. LOUIS -- Between games of a doubleheader for Triple-A Albuquerque on Saturday night, Steven Ames and Josh Wall received word they would be on the move.
Caught completely by surprise, the two right-handed relievers were informed they would be headed to the Marlins as part of the high-profile trade that sent Ricky Nolasco to the Dodgers.
"Shocked," Ames told MLB.com. "I've been with the Dodgers now for four years, but I'm really, really excited to be with the Marlins. I'm definitely happy."
Ames and Wall will be leaving Albquerque, but remaining in the Pacific Coast League. They will just be switching teams, heading to Miami's New Orleans Zephyrs affiliate.
Also included in the trade is right-handed starter Angel Sanchez, who will be joining Advanced Class A Jupiter.
The Marlins are continuing to stockpile pitching throughout their organization, and Ames and Wall will be finding opportunity for advancement. Both could get a shot at pitching in the big leagues after the All-Star break.
"It's a great opportunity to go to Triple-A in the next couple of days," Ames said. "It was definitely a big surprise. We were playing a doubleheader here in Albuquerque. When the first game was over, they told me and Josh Wall about the trade."
Now with the Marlins, Ames will know at least one Miami pitcher. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi was acquired from the Dodgers last July as part of the Hanley Ramirez trade.
"I know Nate really well," Ames said.
Ames relies on his 90-94 mph fastball, which will occasionally touch 95. He mixes in a slider and changeup.
"I try to keep it simple and go after guys," he said.
Like Marlins manager Mike Redmond, Ames attended Gonzaga. The 25-year-old was a 17th-round Draft pick in 2009 and he was added to the 40-man roster last November. He is 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA and eight saves in 30 games for Albuquerque this year.
"What an amazing opportunity Steven has coming to Florida," said Joshua Kusnick, Ames' South Florida-based agent. "He's good friends with Eovaldi and should be up with the big club sometime before September."
Wall, a 26-year-old right-handed reliever, was a second-round Draft pick in 2005. He had brief callups with the Dodgers in each of the past two seasons. He spent most of the two years at Triple-A, where he is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA and three saves in 25 appearances.
Sanchez, a 23-year-old right-handed starter, was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He was 2-7 with a 4.88 ERA in 14 starts at Class A Great Lakes and was recently promoted to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where he has a 3.00 ERA in two appearances, with one start.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Wall and Ames, the Marlins transferred infielder Chris Valaika to the 60-day DL.