With the Marlins once again in fire-sale mode, the Yankees might be interested in taking a piece off their hands. According to Erik Boland of Newsday, the Yankees have interest in pitcher Ricky Nolasco who still has one-year and $11.5 million left on his contract.
The Yankees tried to trade for Nolasco back during the 2011 trade deadline, but the Marlins weren’t interested in moving him then. Makes sense that they would move him now considering he’s going to account for about half of their payroll next year.
The question is — why would the Yankees be interested in him? In parts of seven season in the majors, Nolasco has had all of one good season, when he posted a 3.52 ERA with a 7.9 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in 2008. From 2009 on though, he has struggled with a 4.68 ERA. I guess the thing that makes him interesting is that he’s always had strong peripherals with a 7.5 K/9 and a 2.0 BB/0 since 2009 and he had a decent 48.4 ground ball percentage last year.
In fact, Nolasco’s FIP and xFIP are consistently lower than his ERA. His career ERA is 4.49, but his career FIP is 3.83 and xFIP is 3.78. Perhaps the Yankees see him as somebody who has been a victim of poor defense, bad luck, or both. Still, it seems hard to believe that over such a time span he could get that unlucky.
In comparison, Josh Johnson has a career 3.15 ERA with a 3.20 FIP and 3.57 xFIP. They are not a straight up comparison though since Nolasco strikes out fewer batters and gets fewer ground balls but if one is the victim of bad luck and fielding than the other one should at least be in a similar boat playing on the same team for years.
Overall, Nolasco scares me a bit. I just can’t get excited by a guy with a career ERA+ of just 93. Hopefully the Yankees stay away from him.