The Cincinnati Reds made out just fine in the Mat Latos trade.
Was Latos at his best against the Giants in Game 5 of the National League Division Series?
But the right-hander showed why the Reds were willing to make the move they did when the club acquired him last offseason.
It was a solid first season in Cincinnati for Latos, who pitched 209.1 innings while going 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA. He also struck out 185 and held opponents to a .230 batting average.
His biggest fault may be his immaturity. It was never more evident than it was in Game 5 of the NLDS, when he became visibly flustered by some calls that didn’t go his way. It’s a valid knock on Latos, who’s battled this label his entire career.
While the 6'6", 235-pound Latos has some room to grow up, every general manager in the game would like to have the 24-year-old in their rotation.
Latos brings a little edginess to the game—and it’s not always a bad thing.
Seconds after Johnny Cueto went down with an injury in Game 1 against the Giants, the camera panned to Latos, who looked like he was ready to go from the dugout to the field without even warming up to relieve his fallen teammate.
That kind of tenacity is a good quality to have, and it’s something that shouldn’t be forgotten because of his Game 5 performance.
The key parts the Reds shipped west for Latos don’t have me clamoring for their return.
Since going 17-6 with the Reds in 2008, Edinson Volquez is 24-23 with a 4.62 ERA. He’s never pitched more than 200 innings in his career. He came closest in 2008, when he tossed 196 innings. He threw 182.2 this season—though injuries have always been a worry.
In 2012, Volquez went 11-11 while posting a 4.14 ERA.
As for Yonder Alonso, the emergence of Todd Frazier made it very easy to forget the former first-round pick.
And it’s not like Alonso found greener pastures in San Diego.
He hit a measly nine home runs this season. Frazier had 19. Alonso’s 25 years old, just a year younger than Frazier. Who would you rather have at this point?
Latos may not have come through in Game 5, but he showed Reds fans something in the series opener.
And hopefully there are many more postseason appearances to come.
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