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The Los Angeles Dodgers made their major splash after the trade deadline last season, but this time they pounced early, landing starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco from the Miami Marlins on Saturday in exchange for minor league pitchers Steven Ames, Josh Wall and Angel Sanchez.
"Going to play for the Dodgers, the team that I have always rooted for, is a dream come true," Nolasco said in a statement. "The team is packed with talent and an ownership group that is committed to winning, and I'd like nothing more than to play a part in bringing a World Series back to L.A. I couldn't be more excited to play in front of my family and friends in Dodger stadium during this season and hopefully for many more seasons to come."
The Dodgers also acquired relief from the international signing bonus limits valued at $197,000. They received similar compensation in an earlier deal with the Chicago Cubs in a swap of relievers acquiring Carlos Marmol from the Chicago Cubs for Matt Guerrier. The Dodgers are intent on rebuilding their sagging farm system and have made a serious push in global scouting under the Guggenheim ownership group.
"We needed to add to our pitching and to acquire someone like Ricky and, with weeks to go before the deadline, we thought this was the best move for us," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "Also, adding another $197,000 to the international pool doesn't hurt. We've added more than $400,000 in the last few days and, with our expanded international staff, it gives us additional opportunities to build our system.
"We've liked Ricky for a while. He's a gamer, a quiet, focused and successful pitcher who can add depth to our rotation."
The Dodgers now would like to add a reliever before the July 31 trade deadline and figure to hold on to their veteran core now that they have pulled to within 3½ games of the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers feel their top three starters of Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and Hyun-Jin Ryu can stack up with any rotation in baseball, but they wanted to fortify the back end, which has been tattered by injuries to Chad Billingsley, Josh Beckett and Ted Lilly. Nolasco is expected to take the rotation spot of Chris Capuano, who figures to return to the bullpen.
Wall, 26, has spent parts of the past two seasons with the Dodgers, going 1-1 with a 12.08 ERA. Ames, 25, is 2-2 with a 3.67 ERA in 30 games for Triple-A Albuquerque. Sanchez, 23, is 2-7 with a 4.67 ERA in 16 games between Single-A stops at Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga.
A year ago, the Dodgers made a blockbuster trade with the Boston Red Sox in August, acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto in exchange for James Loney and four prospects. The Dodgers took on more than $250 million in that deal. They will pay Nolasco's $5.5 million salary for the rest of the season.
Information from ESPN.com's Jayson Stark and ESPNLosAngeles.com's Mark Saxon was used in this report.