Ricky Nolasco was once that rare Cubs prospect who was a pitcher — a fourth-round pick in the 2001 draft — who was the key trading chip in the 2005 winter meetings trade with the Marlins for Juan Pierre.

Nolasco never lived up to his hype, though the right-hander showed promise when he went 15-8 with a 3.52 ERA for the Marlins in 2008.

He’s still hanging onto the dream at 35, reaching agreement Wednesday on a minor-league deal with the Royals, according to multiple reports. FanRag Sports reports it’s for $1.5 million.

Nolasco went 6-15 with a 4.92 ERA in 33 starts for the Angels last season, the final year of a four-year, $49 million contract.

The Royals have a need for pitching help after putting right-hander Jesse Hahn on the 60-day disabled list because of a sprained ulnar collateral ligament.

Nolasco has a career 114-118 record with a 4.56 ERA.