The San Diego Padres may have just made the most crucial trade in the team's recent history.
Right-handed starter Mat Latos has great potential, and although we only saw flashes of brilliance this year, his 2010 season shows that he has what it takes.
The Cincinnati Reds did what they thought was necessary to obtain a potential ace at a low price for the next four years.
Latos could be the anchor of that staff for the foreseeable future and the Reds would not have to give him big money until 2016.
However, the price Cincinnati paid to get Latos was far too steep, which makes the Padres the ultimate winners in this deal.
The Reds traded away Edinson Volquez and three of their best young prospects in order to compel the Padres to give up Latos.
The term "overpaid" would be an understatement.
Volquez had a rough go last season, but he was the Reds' Opening Day starter and he has the ability to throw a high-90s fastball with great movement.
His major obstacle will be learning how to harness that fastball and control the corners at ease.
At 28, Volquez can gain that control and composure in the prime of his career and win many games for his team. The Reds may have given up on him too soon.
Another piece of the puzzle is Yonder Alonso, who was ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the Reds organization by MLB.com. He hit .330 when called up to the majors last year and .296 in Triple-A.
Alonso's main position is first base, which may be a reason for the Reds giving him up. When he played with the team last year, however, Alonso held his own in left field.
The Padres will have the ability to use Alonso in either position, possibly adding versatility to his already impressive numbers.
The other two prospects given away by Cincinnati, Brad Boxberger and Yasmani Grandal, have great potential as well.
Boxberger has been projected as a future setup man or closer, while Grandal is a switch-hitting catcher who hit 31 doubles and 14 home runs in the minor leagues.
Both could see the major league in the near future.
Given the current state of the Padres, this was an excellent trade for their farm system.
Latos is more developed than what is being received, but the Padres are not in a position to win next season.
However, this trade gives them an excellent opportunity to become contenders in 2013-14.
As for the Reds, they received an excellent young pitcher. But the amount of talent they gave up makes them the losers in this exchange.
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