ST. LOUIS -- Ricky Nolasco, the Marlins' franchise leader in victories, will be returning to his home in Southern California.
The Marlins traded Nolasco to the Dodgers on Saturday for three Minor League pitching prospects. The Dodgers also acquired international signing bonus slot No. 96 valued at $197,000 from the Marlins as part of the deal.
Trade talks accelerated on Saturday afternoon, gaining steam following Miami's 5-4 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.
A Southern California native, Nolasco will be a free agent after the season. The right-hander has been the subject of trade rumors for weeks. In fact, the Dodgers and Giants had offers on the table in recent days.
Two of the pitchers going to Miami are right-handed relievers Steve Ames and Josh Wall. The third is Angel Sanchez, the Dodgers' eighth-rated prospect according to MLB.com. Sanchez, 23, is a starter with a 95 mph fastball, and he's considered the centerpiece of the deal for the Marlins.
Nolasco is completing a three-year, $26.5 million contract. He is making $11.5 million this season. The Dodgers are picking up all of what's left of his nearly $5.7 million.
"I'm definitely excited," Nolasco told MLB.com. "It's L.A., the team that I grew up going to the games as a kid and stuff. It's kind of surreal now, until I'm actually there. It will take time to sink in, but I'm definitely excited. My whole family couldn't be happier. I'll try to blend in as quickly as I can."
On a last-place Miami team, Nolasco has pitched better than his 5-8 record. But he also didn't figure into the team's future, which made him a viable trade candidate.
The 30-year-old right-hander has a 3.85 ERA, and he's struck out 90 while walking just 25 in 112 1/3 innings.
Nolasco improved his stock in his last outing, a victory in rainy conditions at Atlanta on Wednesday. In seven innings, he gave up two runs on six hits. And with seven strikeouts, he became the first Marlins pitcher to reach 1,000 in that category. He finishes his Miami career with 1,001.
The Marlins acquired Nolasco from the Cubs at the 2005 Winter Meetings.
Like now, the Marlins then were going through a transition period. Nolasco was a highly touted prospect in the Cubs' system. He was dealt to Miami along with Sergio Mitre and Renyel Pinto for Juan Pierre.
Nolasco thanked the Marlins for giving him his first big league shot, including team owner Jeffrey Loria, team president David Samson, president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest and general manager Michael Hill. He also expressed his gratitude to manager Mike Redmond, pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, the rest of the staff and his teammates.
"I definitely want to say thank you to the whole Marlins organization, from top to bottom," Nolasco said. "These last eight years I will obviously never forget. They've been great, although we didn't go to the playoffs any of the years I was there. I am really glad to have been part of that organization."
In his eighth season, Nolasco has established a number of Marlins records, including wins (81), games started (197), innings pitched (1,225 2/3) and strikeouts (1,001).
"Ricky has been terrific," Beinfest said. "Not only the last couple of weeks, which have been difficult with all the rumors. I think he realized that a trade was inevitable. But you still have to deal with these things. To Ricky's credit, he did a great job."
Nolasco was scheduled to make his next start on Monday at home against the Braves, but now the Marlins will be inserting Kevin Slowey in that slot through the All-Star break.
"He's our all-time wins leader, and we appreciate everything he has done," Beinfest said. "He is a Dodger now. We made the decision some time ago that we were not going to offer him an extension. We have a stable of young pitchers here we were going to carry forward with, and Ricky was not part of the plans."
The Marlins have a number of young starters in their Minor League system that they anticipate seeing in the second half, making Nolasco expendable.
"Where we are with our young pitchers, as a young team, and where we are in the standings, that it made sense for Ricky to move on," Beinfest said.
Beinfest added the Marlins are fielding calls on a number of their players, but they aren't necessarily looking to move major parts.
From the start of Spring Training, it was evident Nolasco was a candidate to be traded by the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.
The Marlins are looking to stockpile as many young pitchers as possible.
Sanchez was signed out the Dominican Republic in 2010. He was 2-7 with a 4.88 ERA at Class A Great Lakes and was recently promoted to Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga, where he has no record and a 3.00 ERA in two appearances.
Wall is a 26-year-old who has made six relief appearances for the Dodgers this year, throwing seven innings and giving up 14 runs. He has spent most of the season at Triple-A Albuquerque, where he has appeared in 25 games and has a 5.60 ERA in 27 1/3 innings, with 25 strikeouts.
Ames, 25, has appeared in 30 games for Albuquerque, with a 2-2 record and a 3.67 ERA. He's thrown 34 1/3 innings, and has 29 strikeouts.
Sanchez will be assigned to Class A Advanced Jupiter and Wall and Ames will head to Triple-A New Orleans.