Mat Latos: Revisiting the Trade That Brought Him to the Cincinnati Reds
It seemed like such a daunting asking price.
The San Diego Padres were dangling Mat Latos out there for trade bait, and the Reds decided that they needed to bite, especially after finishing the 2011 season with a 79-83 record and missing the playoffs after what appeared to be a promising season.
In fact, prior to the 2010 season, the Reds hadn't seen postseason play since 1995, when they lost the National League Championship Series in a four-game sweep.
The team was hungry.
Sure, Cincinnati was packed with offense in the form of Joey Votto, Jay Bruce and Brandon Phillips to name a few, but the pitching was weak, in desperate need of an upgrade.
So, the Reds bit the bullet and opted to trade off two first-round draft picks in Yonder Alonso and Yasmani Grandal alongside starting pitcher Edinson Volquez to the San Diego Padres to acquire Mat Latos.
The rest, as they say, is history.
They also say, hindsight is 20/20. With that in mind, how well has the trade for Mat Latos worked out for the Reds? Let's look a bit closer.
Volquez has started in 24 games for the Padres in 2012. He owns a 7-8 record with a 4.03 ERA and 1.410 WHIP while throwing 138.1 innings for San Diego.
He has walked a National League-leading 84 batters on the season.
The Reds are not exactly missing him at this point.
Sure, if he replicated what he did in 2008 (17-6, 3.21 ERA, 1.327 WHIP) that might be another story. Then again, that was 2008.
Grandal has only played in 24 games for the Padres this season but has shown significant promise.
For Triple-A Tucson, Grandal was a monster.
Through 56 games, he owned a .335/.443/.531/.963 batting line with 65 hits, 18 doubles and six home runs while belting in 35 RBI and scoring 40 runs.
Currently, he owns a .312/.349/.597/.947 batting line with 24 hits in 77 at-bats for the Padres. During that time, he has five doubles, a triple and five home runs resulting in 15 RBI and 14 runs scored.
Reds starting catcher Ryan Hanigan is no slouch, but his .277/.363/.351/.713 batting line just doesn't wow you as much as Grandal's does.
Still, 24 games is a small sample size.
Alonso was probably the biggest hit the Reds could afford to take. He wasn't going to come up to the big leagues and take over for Joey Votto, that's for sure.
This season for the Padres, Alonso is making a strong case for himself as Rookie of the Year.
He owns a .269/.339/.393/.733 batting line with a rookie-best 31 doubles, adding six home runs from his 106 hits in 394 at-bats.
Alonso is a solid first baseman for the Padres, both offensively and defensively, but shows a little lack of plate discipline.
From this move, the Padres find themselves 51-65, 12.5 games out of their division and a cool 14 games out of the wild-card chase.
Nevertheless, they acquired young talent that should help to turn this team around in the next few years.
For the Reds, Mat Latos has been exactly what they wanted him to be: awesome.
Latos is tied for second on the team in wins with 10, while owning a 3.81 ERA and a 1.193 WHIP. Both are second best on the starting staff behind Johnny Cueto.
He leads the Reds in strikeouts with 130, and opponents have the lowest batting average against him out of all Reds starters with a .234.
For San Diego, Latos only managed one winning season—in 2010, when he would go 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA and 1.083 WHIP.
For the Reds, his 10-3 record gives him the highest winning percentage on the staff at .769.
The Reds knew exactly what they were doing when they made the move to acquire Latos. He's young and super talented.
Even better, he's under team control and won't even sniff free agency until 2016.
From this, the Reds find themselves firmly atop the NL Central Division with a 4.5-game lead over the Pirates with only a few weeks of the regular season remaining.
It seems evident that the Reds got the better end of this deal. Perhaps now, they finally have all the chips they'll need to play deep into October for the first time since the days of the Nasty Boys.
Time will have to tell.
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