The St. Louis Cardinals starting rotation will likely be stocked in 2018 with young arms, but should they fail to sign an extension for one of their own, there lays a 12-year veteran likely available via team buy-out.
The St. Louis Cardinals do not really need pitching; this much is true. But should they fail to re-sign Lance Lynn, there could exist a need for a new veteran arm. This would be compounded if the St. Louis Cardinals decide in the offseason to become honest about the future of Adam Wainwright.
And in truth the 12-year veteran in question who is likely available thanks to a team buy-out by his failed vesting option, Ricky Nolasco, is pretty much in the same boat as Waino: aging and losing value through poor performances. I’ll take a look anyway.
Nolasco owns a team option of $13MM for 2018 that he would turn to a player option if he reaches 202 1/3 innings pitched. According to MLBTR, this doesn’t look very likely. This means that the team maintains the option and is likely to buy it out for the $1MM required.
Nolasco would then be essentially released by the Angels and looking for work. While he has never been a stellar pitcher- his best year was 2008 when he posted a 3.52 ERA across 34 games for the Marlins- he has logged respectable work loads. Nolasco’s lowest innings pitched were in 2007 when he appeared in only 21.1 to his greatest number pitched in 2008 when he appeared in 212.1.
With relatively high ERAs across his 12-year career, Nolasco will likely be overlooked by many clubs. In addition to this, Nolasco will be 35 when the 2018 campaign begins providing yet another reason for a club to overlook this name.
Enter then some creativity. I suggest that the St. Louis Cardinals approach Nolasco with either a minor league contract or an MLB contract lasting only 1-2 years. In these years, I suggest that the Cardinals move Nolasco to long relief to extend his baseball life. If this works, then Nolasco AND Waino could spell some outstanding arms coming out of the pen in 2018 to support the young guys who climb the hill.