Mat Latos to the Reds: Former Padres Ace Proving to be a Key Acquisition

Wednesday August 1st,  2012

                                                                                                                                

                                                                (Image Courtesy of Bigstory.ap.org)

Brendan Henderson: 

                The Reds made a big trade involving 5 players in the offseason (one player coming from the Padres and four from the Reds.) This deal benefited both teams in my opinion, as the Reds got an “ace material” starting pitcher in Mat Latos and the Padres got four players including proven MLB pitcher Edinson Volquez and solid prospects in Yonder Alsonso, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger. Just how much has this trade benefited each team and who has benefited more so far? I will analyze that below.

                Mat Latos, the tall right-handed starting pitcher was the main centerpiece of this deal and so far this season, he has proven that the Reds were correct in trading four great players for him. Latos is 9-3 with a 4.17 ERA in 21 games started. His ERA is up a little bit but that is not a problem in my opinion, as the Reds will more than likely give him a good 3 or 4 runs every time he goes out there. I would like to see his ERA go down to his career average of 3.55, but I’m still satisfied with his current ERA.  I can see Mat being the Reds ace in years to come if he keeps playing and improving the way he is now. That is why the Reds got him. Overall, the Reds have gotten what they traded for in Mat Latos. Combine him with Johnny Cueto and you have one of the best one-two punches at top of the rotation in baseball.

                The Padres are going through a tough time overall as an organization, as they are fourth in the NL West and 12.5 games back with a record of 44-61. They do have veteran players like outfielder Carlos Quentin and closer Huston Street, but they are definitely in a rebuilding process which is why this trade benefitted them. The Padres got three prospects that are all currently in the majors, not to mention Volquez who has been in their starting rotation all year.

                Edinson Volquez, the only non-prospect beside Mat Latos in the deal, has been rather good for the Padres all year. He is 7-7 with a 3.51 ERA in 22 games started. This year has been his best year in his career in terms of ERA, as his career ERA is 4.41. So he has really started to allow less runs this year, which is always a good sign in a pitcher. His strikeouts are up too. Volquez has 122 strikeouts, which is the second highest amount in a season so far in his career and he still has a lot of starts yet to go. Call it the Petco effect. Call it maturity. Either way, Volquez has proven to be very effective in a Padres uniform.

                Yonder Alonso was the best prospect the Padres acquired in the deal and he is currently plyaing first base on a regular basis for them. Yonder is batting .268 with five home runs and 37 RBIs. Yonder also has 40 base on balls and 28 doubles on the year so far. Yonder is doing rather well so far, as you can tell by his numbers. The important thing to remember is that even though he has played with a big league club the past three years, Yonder is still young and he will develop as his career progresses. This is his first true shot at a starting MLB job and he is playing in his comfort zone, first base. The Reds spent a great deal of time flipping him between positions and the majors/minors. With the stability he is receiving in San Diego, Yonder Alonso is finally able to thrive as was expected of him as an early first round pick of the Reds.

                Yasmani Grandal is the catching prospect the Reds sent over to the Padres in this deal. Yasmani is currently the starting catcher for the Padres and he is well deserving of that job. He is batting .312 with five home runs and 15 RBIs in 24 games. To me, the Padres got a very good player in Yasmani Grandal. He is already performing well in the show and he is just a 23-year-old rookie. Between Grandal and Alonso, the Padres should have two solid bats in their lineup for the next decade.

                Finally, Brad Boxberger was an additional right-handed pitcher the Padres acquired. Boxberger has allowed six hits and has a 1.17 ERA in only 7.1 innings pitched with the big team. Boxberger is a good young pitcher who has done well in a short amount of time in the big leagues and I expect him to help this ball club out soon. He could prove to be a solid reliever for the team, maybe even a future closer.

                Overall, I think the Reds got the better end of the deal on this trade. Yes, the Padres got four good young players from the Reds but honestly there was no spot for Grandal or Alonso on the Reds roster. They have the best first baseman in baseball in my opinion in Joey Votto and Grandal was blocked by the young catching sensation Devin Mesoraco. I wish the Reds could have kept Volquez and Boxberger but they had to throw them in the deal to get Latos, as he was a required component to push the team over the top. So far it has been a good decision to trade for him, and the value of Latos will likely go through the roof when the Reds make the playoffs this October.

                                                                                                

                                                                        (Image Courtesy of  Hardballtalk.nbcsports.com)

***Today’s feature was prepared by Brendan Henderson, Baseball Writer.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Brendan on Twitter (@HenduBlog)***

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Posted on August 1, 2012, in MLB Player Profiles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Very nice. I think Latos is going to be a very strong pitcher for the Reds this year and many more to come.

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