The Miami Marlins' fire sale of 2012 might not be over. At this week's MLB winter meetings in Nashville, the team could deal starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco or shortstop Yunel Escobar - or both.
Nolasco asked the team for a trade after the Marlins sent Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, and others to the Toronto Blue Jays for a package of prospects and role players.
"I just think that he's just looking for a better situation than he feels what is presented to him in Miami," agent Matt Sosnick said Monday. "We defer to the fact that we have no control and he's under contract for another year. The team certainly can do as they please. We felt it was important to make his feelings known."
Indeed, the Marlins may have already been thinking about trading Nolasco, who will be a free agent after the 2013 season. He is set to make $11.5 million in 2013, making him the highest paid Marlin currently under contract by a long shot.
If the team has no intention of re-signing Nolasco, there would seem to be little reason to keep him around for what figures to be a rebuilding year.
The Marlins opted to trade starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez before July's trade deadline earlier this season for a similar reason. Sanchez, who is a free agent this weekend, earned $8 million last season, and the Marlins saw little need to pay the remainder of his salary when the team fell out of playoff contention.
Nolasco went 12-13 with a 4.48 ERA last season, his seventh with the Marlins. For his career, he is 76-64 with a 4.49 ERA, the all-time leader in Marlins wins.
Also potentially on his way out of South Florida is SS Yunel Escobar, who came to the Marlins in the Blue Jays trade last month. The Miami Herald reported Monday night that the team is in late-stage talks with two other teams regarding the Cuban American Escobar.
The Marlins had initially planned to move Escobar to third base to make room for Adeiny Hechavarria, a shortstop also included in the Blue Jays trade.
Escobar is due to make $5 million next season. He and Nolasco represent almost half of the $36 million the team has committed in player contracts for next season, making it all to clear what the suddenly spendthrift Marlins are up to.
It is conceivable that the Marlins could have a payroll of less than $30 million on Opening Day 2013, compared to a $118 million payroll last season.