SAN FRANCISCO — Ricky Nolasco is finally coming home.
The Los Angeles Dodgers acquired the right-hander and Southern California native from the Miami Marlins on Saturday in exchange for three minor league pitchers.
The Dodgers sent Steven Ames, Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez to Miami in the deal. Los Angeles also received international signing bonus slot No. 96, which is valued at $197,000.
"It’s somebody that can help us out," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said after his team’s 4-2 loss at San Francisco. "He’s an accomplished big league starter. We felt that we needed to add a starter at this point in the season. We had conversations with (Miami) going back a few days, actually about a week now, and we continued down that path until we got it done."
Nolasco made 18 starts for the Marlins this season, going 5-8 with a 3.85 ERA. The 30-year-old Nolasco is 81-72 with a 4.44 ERA in 213 games over eight seasons.
He ends his tenure with the Marlins as the franchise’s leader in wins (81), games started (197) and innings pitched (1,225 2-3 innings). In a statement, Nolasco thanked the Marlins for "some of the best times of my life" and said he looked forward to the opportunity to return to the Los Angeles area.
Nolasco was raised in Corona, and attended Rialto High School. The Chicago Cubs originally selected Nolasco in the fourth round of the 2001 draft. He was acquired by the Marlins in 2005 and had been one of the most reliable arms for one of the majors’ most frugal franchises ever since.
"Going to play for the Dodgers, the team that I have always rooted for, is a dream come true," Nolasco said. "The team is packed with talent and an ownership group that is committed to winning, and I’d like nothing more than to play a part in bringing a World Series back to L.A. I couldn’t be more excited to play in front of my family and friends in Dodger Stadium during this season and hopefully for many more seasons to come."
Nolasco’s addition helped ease the Dodgers’ latest loss.
The Giants, among other teams, were reportedly interested in Nolasco. Instead, San Francisco watched its big-spending NL West rival swipe away another commodity.
With Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu entrenched as starters, the Dodgers didn’t need a new No. 1 pitcher. But Nolasco’s acquisition should help overcame the absences of Josh Beckett (season-ending neck surgery) and Chad Billingsley (right elbow pain) at the back end of the rotation as Los Angeles looks to make a playoff push.
"He’s been a good starter for a while now," Kershaw said of Nolasco. "I’m excited to get him in the rotation. It’s exciting for us, for sure. He’s good."
The Marlins got back what they covet most: prospects with small salaries and potential, albeit not the most coveted ones in the Dodgers’ farm system.
The 26-year-old Wall went 0-1 with an 18.00 ERA in six relief appearances for the Dodgers this season. He is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA in 25 games for Triple-A Albuquerque.
Ames, 25, was 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA in 30 appearances for Albuquerque this year. Sanchez, 23, is a combined 2-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with Single-A Great Lakes and Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Nolasco last pitched Wednesday in Atlanta. He gave up two runs on six hits, striking out seven in seven innings in the Marlins’ 6-3 win. He would be in line to pitch for the Dodgers early next week, though Dodgers manager Don Mattingly was still sorting out his rotation.
"He wants to be out there," said shortstop Hanley Ramirez, who was traded from the Marlins last season. "I was with him for six or seven years. Nobody had a complaint about him. Great guy."
Colletti declined to discuss other trades the team has, or will, explore. He also declined to mention the other teams who were interested in Nolasco. But, Colletti added, he expects to stay busy before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
"It’s not the only priority," Colletti said. "We think when we get healthy the offence will be fine. Pitching is always a priority when you get to this time of year."