The Arizona Diamondbacks announce a minor league deal for Ricky Nolasco. The former Marlin, Twin, Angel and Dodger will get an invite to major league camp.
The Arizona Diamondbacks continue to scour the fringes of the free agent market, adding starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco on a minor league deal and inviting him to camp. Nolasco, 36, did not pitch during the 2018 season, but as recently as 2017 saw a full turn (34 starts) in the rotation with the Angels.
Starting pitching might be the Diamondbacks greatest area of depth, giving Nolasco an uphill climb in his bid to return to a major league rotation. Should any of the Dbacks top five starters (Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray, Zack Godley, Luke Weaver, Merrill Kelly) get injured, however, Nolasco could be a candidate to step in at the start of the season.
The Diamondbacks are pretty well set with young hopeful arms, but there’s at least a chance that GM Mike Hazen and the Arizona brass won’t want to throw the likes of Taylor Widener, Jon Duplantier or Taylor Clarke directly into the fire – hence a small window of opportunity for a veteran hurler like Nolasco.
Of course, he will need to earn that opportunity with a strong spring, especially given that he hasn’t thrown a pitch for over a year. When he did last pitch, he was serviceable as a back-end guy. In 2016, Nolasco went 6-15 with a 4.92 ERA (5.10 FIP) over 181 innings.
Given that he’s two years older now, there’s not a lot of upside to look for there, but it’s not far off his career numbers either. Since his debut as a 23-year-old for the Marlins in 2006, Nolasco has compiled a 114-118 record with a 4.56 ERA, though with a more impressive 3.97 FIP. That’s closer to a top-flight number five starter than to a serviceable four.
Ricky Nolasco is unlikely to make the Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day roster, though again, there is a path. Seeing the path to Nolasco making much of a positive contribution, unfortunately, is harder to see.