|After three consecutive sub-par outings, Ricky Nolasco's future in post-season play is in serious doubt. (photo by Jeff Chiu)|
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Nolasco May Have Pitched His Last Game as a Dodger
That high pitched scream you heard during Ricky Nolasco’s outing last night probably came from his Bay Area based agent, Matt Sosnick, as the price tag for his client goes down further and further. Nolasco, a free agent at the conclusion of this season, may have just made himself much more affordable for next season.
We all knew Nolasco wasn’t as good as his first dozen games as a Dodger where he dominated with a 8-1 record and twelve quality starts. We also know he isn’t as bad as his last three outings where his ERA exceeds 12 runs per game. Ricky is somewhere in the middle. An above .500 pitcher that will eat up about 200 innings and post an ERA in the high threes to low fours. That’s worthy of number four starter money in Los Angeles and equates to a contract in the neighborhood of three years at $28 million. Perhaps Nolasco will give the club a home town discount with a number of incentive clauses that could make the deal worth more.
Nolasco is going to be 31 years old next year. Expect him to go elsewhere if the Dodgers low-ball him with the type of deal described above. Negotiations for his services may not be in the pitcher's favor now as his price tag has got to be dropping at comet like speed. Further complicating matters now are questions as to whether he'll even get a start in post-season play.
Let’s look at the possible scenarios for the number four guy in the playoffs.
1) If the Dodgers start out in Atlanta or St. Louis and after three games are down in the series 2-1, Nolasco probably won’t even get a start. Kershaw would go on three days rest to save the season and extend it another day and then Greinke would start game five in the opponent's park.
2) If the Dodgers are ahead 2-1 at that point, Kershaw will probably get the start in order to close out the series and avoid a final game at the opponent's ball park. Since the NLCS wouldn't start until five days later, Kershaw could actually start game two of the next series if the Dodgers are able to close out the NLDS in four.
3) If the Dodgers sweep the NLDS series, Nolasco probably won’t see action until deep into the NLCS, if he is needed. And by then there will be concerns about his lengthy lay off and whether he should even pitch at all.
The number four starter is a lonely guy in post-season play. He just might not be necessary at all unless a starter gets shelled and an emergency scenario surfaces. Ricky's last three outings have sealed his post-season fate. We’ll see how it all plays out, but there is a strong possibility that Nolasco just made his last start for the Dodgers, perhaps forever.