Daily Dodgers in Review: Ricky Nolasco was great until very end

RICKY NOLASCO, 31, starting pitcher

Final 2013 stats: 13-11, 3.70 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, .255 opponent batting average, 7.4 strikeouts per inning pitched (8-3, 3.52, 1.20 WHIP, .247, 7.8 as a Dodger).

Contract status: A free agent, signed a four-year, $49-million contract with the Twins.

The good: After coming over from the Marlins on July 6, the Rialto native got off to a roaring start as a Dodger. He went 8-1 with a 2.07 ERA in his first 12 starts, holding opponents to a .213 batting average. For a while he supplanted Hyun-Jin Ruy as the Dodgers’ No. 3 starter.

The bad: It got away from him in the stretch, the right-hander going 0-2 with an 11.77 ERA in his last four appearances.

The Dodgers skipped his turn in the first-round playoff series against the Braves, and then he lasted only four innings (three runs) in a 4-2 loss to the Cardinals in his one postseason start.

What’s next: A new life in the American League.

The take: Despite the finish, the Dodgers can’t complain about what they received from Nolasco. He threw very well when they were beating up on everyone in the middle of the summer and seizing control of the National League West.

Playing for the Dodgers was a life-long dream for Nolasco, who no doubt wanted to stay. He also wanted a long-term deal that understandably did not fit into their plans, so he was cast adrift.

He landed just fine, getting a big payday from the Twins. If he harbored any hope of returning, they had to be dashed when the Dodgers signed Dan Haren to a one-year deal. If Nolasco’s contract vests for its fifth year, it will be worth $62 million. That kind of money, the Dodgers no doubt figured, would be better spent going after Masahiro Tanaka.

Nolasco’s time here may have been brief, but at least it was notable.

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