Larry Beinfest's first significant trade in his Marlins stewardship involved giving up pitching to obtain pitching. That 2002 deal with the Cubs netted pitchers Julian Tavarez and an obscure (at the time) minor leaguer named Dontrelle Willis in exchange for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement.
Beinfest's lust for pitching didn't stop there, and probably won't end when he deals Ricky Nolasco. If Beinfest's trading history is any indication, the Marlins will very likely receive a pitcher -- a mid- to upper-level minor league prospect, several sources say, depending on how much of Nolasco's remaining salary (about $6 million) they're willing to eat.
With rare exception, the Marlins have received pitching in nearly every trade Beinfest has made in which he's surrendered arms. A few of the most notable of those deals:
-- Acquiring Anibal Sanchez and two minor league pitchers (along with Hanley Ramirez) when the Marlins traded Josh Beckett, Guillermo Mota and Mike Lowell to Boston in 2005.
-- Acquiring Mark Redman and Gary Knotts from the Tigers in a 2003 trade with Detroit for Nate Robertson and Rob Henkel.
-- Acquiring Carlos Zambrano for Chris Volstad in 2012.
-- Acquiring Carl Pavano, Graeme Lloyd and Justin Wayne in a three-way swap with Montreal and Cincinnati in 2002 in which the Marlins gave up Ryan Dempster (and others).
-- Acquiring Andrew Miller and three other pitchers (along with outfielder Cameron Maybin) when they traded (gulp) Miguel Cabrera and Willis to the Tigers in 2007.
-- Acquiring Nathan Eovaldi from the Dodgers in last year's trade in which Ramirez and Randy Choate were dealt to Los Angeles.
-- Acquiring Jacob Turner (and catcher Rob Brantly) from the Tigers in last year's Sanchez/Omar Infante trade to Detroit.
-- Acquiring three pitchers (Henderson Alvarez, Justin Nicolino and Anthony DeSclafani) when they traded Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Jose Reyes et. al to the Blue Jays last November.
Even most of Beinfest's smaller, straight-up trades have been pitcher for pitcher:
-- Yusmeiro Petit for Jorge Julio in 2007
-- Jorge Julio for Byung-Hyun Kim (2007).
-- Randy Messenger for Armando Benitez (2007).
-- Gaby Hernandez for Arthur Rhodes (2008).
-- Kevin Gregg for Jose Ceda (2008).
There are very few examples in which Beinfest gave up pitching and didn't receive any in return:
-- A 2009 trade deadline deal in which the Marlins gave up a minor-league pitching prospect (Aaron Thompson) for first baseman Nick Johnson.
-- A 2011 deal with Tampa Bay (Burke Badenhop for catcher Jake Jefferies).
-- Last October's trade with Arizona in which the Marlins washed their hands of Heath Bell, trading him to the Diamondbacks for minor league infielder Yordy Cabrera.
Almost as strong as Beinfest's desire is for pitching is his penchant for trying to be in front of the market and making trades early. In other words, forget the July 31 trade deadling. The Nolasco deal could come at any time.
And, more than likely, it will be a pitcher headed in the Marlins' direction.