Juan Nicasio to compete to be starter

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers acquired pitcher Juan Nicasio from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named or cash, the team announced Monday, continuing a trend of stockpiling young, inexpensive pitchers who could compete this spring to be the team's fifth starter or an extra bullpen arm.

Nicasio, 28, went 6-6 with a 5.38 ERA for the Rockies last season pitching in both relief and as a starter, but in his first three seasons in the big leagues he was exclusively a starter. Nicasio is 21-22 with a 5.03 ERA in 88 major league games.

Many people wondered what the Dodgers' new front office would do in its first offseason, and it certainly appears new team president Andrew Friedman and general manager Farhan Zaidi won't spend money the way outgoing GM Ned Colletti did in his last few seasons on the job.

Nicasio, who made $2.025 million last season, is eligible for arbitration. The Rockies had designated him for assignment.

Last week, the Dodgers acquired Mike Bolsinger from the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash. It appears Friedman and Zaidi are hoping that moving Nicasio and Bolsinger from Coors and Chase fields, two of the extreme hitters' parks in baseball, to spacious Dodger Stadium will change their fortunes.

The Dodgers are looking to create payroll flexibility and are likely to trade one of their high-priced outfielders, likely either Andre Ethier or Carl Crawford, in an effort to get their payroll down from the $240 million they entered 2014 with.

If Nicasio doesn't win the fifth-starter competition, he could prove a useful bullpen arm. After the All-Star break last year, he pitched exclusively in relief and had a 3.48 ERA in 19 games. Zaidi said Nicasio's role is yet to be determined but likely to be in the bullpen. According to Fangraphs, Nicasio's average fastball was 92.7 mph last season, but it ticked up to 95 mph when he pitched in relief.

"His stuff and performance played up in that role," Zaidi said.

The Dodgers added Nicasio to their 40-man roster and designated infielder Ryan Jackson for assignment.