Nolasco may have made final start for Miami

MIAMI — After giving up four straight hits to start the sixth inning on Friday night, Ricky Nolasco handed the ball Marlins manager Mike Redmond and he trotted towards the dugout.

The Marlins Park crowd gave the 30-year-old a nice applause in what just might have been his final appearance in a Miami uniform.

Nolasco, a free agent after the season, had a rough night in a 9-2 loss to the Padres. But the veteran right-hander has enough of a track record to draw plenty of interest on the trade market.

It is no secret Nolasco is expected to be dealt by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

It certainly appears a deal will get done well before the end of July,, and it could be made before Nolasco’s next scheduled start, which would be Wednesday at Atlanta.

The Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Orioles and Pirates are among teams interested. The Dodgers are believed to be the frontrunner.

Nolasco, the Marlins’ all-time leader in wins, is 80-72 in eight seasons with the organization. He also holds franchise marks in a number of categories, including games pitched (212), starts (196), innings pitched (1,218 2/3) and strikeouts (994).

Nolasco is well aware he could be on the move soon. The right-hander just doesn’t know if Friday’s loss was his final game with Miami.

“I’m the wrong person to answer that question,” Nolasco said. “That’s for the front office and stuff. I’m not thinking like that. I’m just thinking day by day, coming in, doing my work and getting ready for every fifth day.”

Another indicator that Nolasco may indeed be moved within a few days is the fact Henderson Alvarez is ready to join the rotation. Alvarez, acquired from the Blue Jays last November, had another impressive rehab performance for Double-A Jacksonville.

The right-hander also threw on Friday, tossing 7 2/3 scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and no walks against Mobile. In two rehab games with the Suns, Alvarez has threw 14 1/3 scoreless innings with 13 strikeouts and no walks.

Alvarez opened the season on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. Healthy, he is lined up to replace Nolasco in the rotation.

For Nolasco, the Marlins will likely receive a mid-to-upper range prospect. The return could come down to how much of the remaining roughly $6 million Nolasco is owed for the rest of the season.

While Nolasco is on the verge of being traded, the Marlins are showing signs of keeping Giancarlo Stanton. It appears not just through the end of the season, but for 2014 as well.

Stanton is eligible for arbitration next year, and the club plans on approaching the slugger about a long-term contract. Even if Stanton isn’t looking to get locked up to a multi-year deal, the Marlins have internally discussed that fact the right fielder could basically fill the salary slot Nolasco has this year.

Nolasco is making $11.5 million, and Stanton could approach $7 million to $10 million in arbitration.

A portion of that $11.5 million the team also could put towards retaining first baseman Logan Morrison next year, when he also reaches arbitration for the first time.

Joe Frisaro

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