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Dodgers eye Ricky Nolasco



LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Dodgers are deep into trade talks with the Miami Marlins about pitcher Ricky Nolasco, a source confirmed Wednesday.

Nolasco, 30, is 4-7 with a 3.68 ERA for the 27-50 Marlins. The Southern California native is set to become a free agent after the season. The Marlins reportedly are looking to deal him well before the July 31 trade deadline. “There have been interesting discussions. Hard to know if anything’s close right now,” the source said.

A move for Nolasco would not mean the Dodgers are fixated on adding players that could help them only this season.

The Dodgers are, in fact, approaching the trade deadline with a two-pronged approach, the source said. They are looking to add — preferably, one starting pitcher and one reliever — before July 31, but they have also talked about dealing a veteran to add prospects that could help them beyond 2013.

They are in a tricky situation, seven games out of a playoff spot, but playing their best baseball as their health improves. The Dodgers had won four in a row — a season high — going into Wednesday night’s game with the San Francisco Giants.

Outfielder Andre Ethier is the veteran Dodger most frequently mentioned in trade rumors. The Dodgers are willing to carry Ethier as a fourth outfielder for the remainder of the season as insurance for Carl Crawford and Matt Kemp, who have spent most of the past two seasons on the disabled list.

Beyond that, trading him could become a major priority.

Yasiel Puig’s meteoric start has forced the issue. The Dodgers’ other top position-player prospect, Joc Pederson, was recently named to play in the Futures Game at Citi Field. The Dodgers think Pederson, 21, is about a year away from making a major-league impact, which could fuel the team’s desire to move Ethier by next spring.

The Dodgers appear content to go with Juan Uribe at third base. There are few impact infielders likely to be available via trade. Uribe plays solid defense and shortstop Hanley Ramirez’s return from the disabled list should provide enough offense to let them carry a mediocre hitter at third.

The Dodgers also continue to make an aggressive push in the international market. They have already scouted Cuban defector Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, a right-handed pitcher who is expected to sign soon. The Dodgers signed Puig, another Cuban defector, last June to a seven-year, $42 million deal.

Gonzalez is 26, which means he could help the Dodgers in short order and also means he wouldn’t count against their limited allotment for international signings.




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