Mat Latos, Mike Morse Traded to Dodgers in Three-Team Trade with Marlins, Braves

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2015

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Mat Latos' Miami Marlins career is over after 16 starts, as the Marlins have reportedly agreed to send the 6'6" righty to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with first baseman Mike Morse and a competitive balance pick in exchange for a package of prospects. 

After 24 hours of limbo, finally the three-team megatrade went through. Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports provided the full details of the trade: 

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

To Dodgers: Wood, Latos, Morse, Avilan, Johnson, Peraza, Arroyo To Braves: Olivera, Paco, Bird, pick To Marlins: Brigham, Guzman, Araujo

Passan added details regarding the financial implications of the deal: 

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Between the ~$30M in signing bonus savings and Dodgers taking on Arroyo deal, Braves gave up Wood/Peraza to get Olivera for 5 years, ~$22M.

The Dodgers would later announce the trade. On Thursday, the team announced they designated Morse for assignment.

Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times first reported the deal Wednesday morning but it was not officially confirmed by either club. A few hours later, Wittenmyer reported the deal was on hold because of medical concerns with the players involved. But now it appears the hurdles for the megatrade have been cleared. 

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution noted while the Braves would control Olivera for five years, the Dodgers would be responsible for paying the young third baseman's $28 million signing bonus. 

USA Today's Bob Nightengale noted how much the Marlins will save dealing Latos and Morse:

Bob Nightengale @BNightengale

The #Marlins will save about $13.5 million in the Latos/Morse deal with the #Dodgers, two acquisitions that went haywire in rough season.

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Latos, 27, is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.25 WHIP this season. Nearly all of those numbers would mark full-season worsts, as he has struggled to find his form in Miami. After winning at least nine games in each of his first four full seasons from 2010 to '13, Latos is in danger of falling below that mark for the second straight campaign.

Of course, Latos is one of a number of Marlins who likely thought 2015 would go differently. Billed as National League East contenders in spring training, Miami is 12 games out of first place at 42-59 heading into Thursday night. The team's hitting is near the bottom of baseball in many categories, even though Miami has two All-Stars (Dee Gordon and Giancarlo Stanton) in the midst of career years.

One of those Marlins would undoubtedly be Morse. While the 33-year-old has pop in his bat, he's struggled in Miami, hitting .214 with four home runs and 12 RBI on the year. Ultimately, his struggles caused him to lose his starting job to Justin Bour, although he still made spot appearances.

Miami's downturn led to players such as Latos, who will be a free agent after this season, being put on the trade block. His name has been bandied about since before the All-Star break, which weighed on him mentally.

Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

"Of course I want to know what's going on," he told reporters in July. "I've got a 10-month-old and I've got a family to worry about. So I told him [manager Dan Jennings] I do want to be in the loop."

After a miserable start to the season, Latos has been much better over the past two months. He is 1-2 with a 1.80 ERA in three July starts, and the underlying numbers have been promising for him all season. Latos' 3.34 FIP indicates he's gotten massively unlucky for most of the season, particularly as he entered June at 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA.

For Latos and the Dodgers, it's a promising sign that he's trending upward as the season progresses. A short stint on the disabled list in late May appears to have reinvigorated his arm, especially his velocity and bite on his off-speed stuff. The Marlins have also done a nice job of keeping his pitch count down; he's averaging 12 fewer pitches per start than his career average.

As for the Braves, it's difficult to see why they're making this deal. Alex Wood was seen as a foundational piece to their future rotation, a 24-year-old lefty with good stuff and a bright long-term future. He's not even eligible for free agency until 2020. Jose Peraza was also seen as the organization's best young prospect, so it must all speak to how much the organization believes Olivera will be a star. 

L.A. may take a similar tack with Latos, or it could push him back toward being a workhorse. The Dodgers are acquiring him for their playoff rotation, so they'll need to see how he handles high-pressure situations. Latos has made just one playoff start in his career, giving up six runs (five earned) in 4.1 innings with the Cincinnati Reds in 2012.

Follow Tyler Conway (@tylerconway22) on Twitter.


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