Tag: Mat Latos

Mat Latos to Nationals: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

The Washington Nationals signed pitcher Mat Latos to a minor league contract on Wednesday, manager Dusty Baker confirmed to Dan Kolko of MASN.  

Baker noted that the move was primarily for depth, per Mark Zuckerman of MASN:

Latos, 28, struggled with the Chicago White Sox this year, going 6-2 with a 4.62 ERA, a 1.46 WHIP and 32 strikeouts in 60.1 innings pitched over 11 starts. He was excellent for the team early in the season, allowing just two total runs in his first four starts, but he then gave up four or more earned runs in five of his next seven starts.

The White Sox released him earlier in June. Baker thinks the White Sox might have cut ties with the right-hander a bit soon, however.

“They didn’t give him a whole bunch of time to fall apart,” the Nats manager told Chelsea Janes of the Washington Post. “Maybe they didn’t believe what they were seeing in the victories that preceded us getting there. I don’t know. I can’t speak for another man, but I thought it was a bit premature to release him at that time.”

Per Janes, “Latos will be a Class AAA starter for the Nationals, who do not view him as a potential bullpen option, according to a person familiar with the situation.”

The move comes after Washington placed Stephen Strasburg on the disabled list with an upper-back strain. The Nationals do have solid pitching depth, however, with top prospect Lucas Giolito making his MLB debut against the New York Mets on Tuesday.

Giolito pitched 4.0 innings, giving up just one hit, two walks and no runs while striking out one batter before a rain delay ended his night. He earned himself a look while Strasburg is sidelined—and perhaps even beyond that.

Latos, meanwhile, will join MLB prospects Reynaldo Lopez and Austin Voth in Syracuse, rounding out a nice stable of arms for the Nationals at the Triple-A level.


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Mat Latos to White Sox: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Looking to resuscitate his career after a disastrous 2015 season, right-handed pitcher Mat Latos signed a one-year, $3 million contract with the Chicago White Sox, the team announced.

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com first reported the agreement.

Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times provided a statement from GM Rick Hahn:

After waiting for the top-tier free agents to sign this winter, Latos’ market slowly picked up steam. Crasnick reported Dec. 22 that five teams had checked in on the veteran pitcher, who was “probably” seeking a short deal to rebuild his value.

It’s certainly not a bad plan for Latos, who had the worst season of his seven-year MLB career in 2015. He posted a 4.95 ERA with 120 hits and 13 home runs allowed in 116.1 innings with the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels, though there are some reasons for optimism.

For instance, Latos did strike out 100 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.13. His ability to stay healthy is one of the big question marks, as he’s only tallied 218.2 innings the past two years after throwing at least 184.2 innings each season from 2010-13.

Health might also help Latos rediscover some of the velocity he has lost, with FanGraphs showing his fastball has dipped from an average of 92.6 mph in 2013 to 90.7 mph and 91.5 mph the past two years.

ESPN.com’s Keith Law did give Latos a moderately optimistic outlook when ranking the 28-year-old No. 25 on his list of top 50 free agents:

Latos pitches like a No. 2 starter when healthy, with four straight years of that kind of performance until injuries to his knee and throwing elbow cut both his 2014 and 2015 seasons in half. He was still effective when on the mound, at least until the Dodgers acquired him in July, working with a mostly-average fastball that would touch 95 mph, a plus splitter and an above-average or better slider.

Law did note that Latos has a tendency to burn bridges when he leaves a team. He memorably called out some of the younger players during his time with the Cincinnati Reds in an interview with Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports last February, saying the “dugout looked like a ghost town.”

If Latos brings his best attitude and remains healthy this season for the White Sox, he will be one of the biggest offseason bargains. He hit free agency very young, and there are enough reasons to be optimistic about what will happen in 2016.

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Mat Latos: Latest News, Rumors, Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent SP

Mat Latos played for three big league teams in 2015 in what was the worst season of his career.  

Injuries have gotten in his way the past two years, but if he can remain healthy and regain his old form, Latos could find a landing spot in free agency.

Continue for updates.

5 Teams Check In on Latos

Tuesday, Dec. 22

The Baltimore Orioles, Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays have all reached out to Latos’ camp to gauge interest for 2016, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com.

After a career-worst season, in which he was essentially shuffled between the Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels, Latos will likely have to settle for a one-year deal to re-establish his value, per Crasnick.

From 2010-2013, Latos was good enough to top the rotations for the San Diego Padres and then the Cincinnati Reds. During that stretch, he went 51-35 with a 3.27 ERA and tallied at least 185 strikeouts per season while eclipsing 200 innings twice.

He’s only 28, and Crasnick noted the interested parties believe Latos could regain his old form and become a viable contributor:

There is a slight downside, however, as Latos has had a reputation as a clubhouse headache, which may turn some teams off, per Royals Review:

Latos certainly won’t net the $9.41 million he earned in 2015, but if teams can get him on a reasonable deal with no long-term ties as an experiment of sorts, he may be worth bringing in. 

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Mat Latos to Angels: Latest Contract Details, Analysis and Reaction

The Los Angeles Angels are in desperate need of healthy pitching depth for the season’s stretch run, and they added some Monday in the form of veteran Mat Latos.

The team announced it signed the right-hander to a major league contract and placed catcher Rafael Lopez on the 60-day disabled list.

The Angels are three games behind the Texas Rangers in the American League West and 0.5 games behind the Houston Astros for the final wild-card spot. If Latos pitches for his new team as it chases a playoff berth in the season’s final week, it will mark his American League debut after he played for the San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noted the Angels have a “serious pitching deficit due to injuries.” Jered Weaver and Matt Shoemaker are suffering from nagging injuries, while Huston Street and Joe Smith are both likely done for the regular season. Perhaps Latos can provide critical innings in some form for Los Angeles following Monday’s move.

Those innings will not come in the postseason, though. Sports Illustrated noted Latos will not be eligible to pitch in the playoffs, should the Angels qualify.

Latos started the season for the Marlins and struggled on the way to a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts. The Dodgers acquired him at the trade deadline, but things got worse when he tallied a 6.66 ERA in 24.1 innings of work. Latos last appeared in a game Sept. 15 as a reliever for the Dodgers, and the team eventually released him after designating him for assignment.

Latos is not far removed from five straight seasons with a sub-3.50 ERA from 2010 to 2014. He was at his best in 2010, when he notched a 2.92 ERA and 189 strikeouts for the Padres, but he was a reliable middle-of-the-rotation starter for most of his career until this season.

He is only 27 years old and likely has years of baseball ahead of him. Perhaps a change of scenery and the chance to help his new team reach the postseason will invigorate Latos in crunch time.

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Mat Latos Designated for Assignment by Dodgers: Details, Comments and Reaction

The Los Angeles Dodgers appeared to bolster an already-formidable starting rotation at the trade deadline when they added Mat Latos from the Miami Marlins, but the right-handed pitcher is no longer with the major league team.

Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports noted Los Angeles designated Latos for assignment Thursday. Fox Sports MLB reported the Dodgers reinstated pitcher Carlos Frias from the 60-day disabled list to take Latos’ spot.

Latos looked like a critical addition when he threw six innings of one-run baseball in his first start with the team following the trade with Miami, but he didn’t even finish the fifth inning in his next four outings. In all, Latos tallied a 6.66 ERA in 24.1 innings of disappointing work with Los Angeles.

Michael J. Duarte of NBC LA said this move “most likely ends his rocky tenure” with the Dodgers. It was the next step down after manager Don Mattingly moved Latos to the bullpen earlier in September. 

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times put Latos’ fall from grace into context during the pitcher’s most recent outing:   

That is a far cry from Latos’ five straight seasons with less than a 3.50 ERA coming into the 2015 campaign, including a standout 2010 campaign with the San Diego Padres that saw him post a 2.92 ERA, a sparkling 1.08 WHIP and 189 strikeouts.

D.J. Short of NBC Sports pointed out that “the Dodgers won’t need a fifth starter during the postseason, so they apparently decided to turn the page and open up a spot on the 40-man roster.”

Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw are arguably the top two pitchers in the league, and, as Short alluded to, the Dodgers can pitch them multiple times in a short playoff series instead of worrying about the back end of the rotation.

As for Latos, he is set to become a free agent following the season, per Spotrac. It is safe to assume his performance with the Dodgers potentially cost him millions of dollars on the open market, although his track record should earn him an opportunity with another squad.

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Daily Fantasy Baseball 2015: MLB DraftKings Studs and Duds for August 13

The 2015 MLB season continues to roll along with less than two months before October. Most daily fantasy owners have likely gotten into a groove at this point, but the names at the top of lists are constantly changing.

Some players have risen to the task in August, while others have fallen off under the pressure of a playoff push. Ahead of Thursday’s slate of games, here’s a look at some studs and duds for August 13.



Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs ($10,800)

That massive investment by the Chicago Cubs in the offseason is finally starting to pay off. As October approaches, Lester is starting to turn it on with two runs or less allowed in his last four starts. Three of those happened to come at Wrigley Field, which is where the Cubs will play on Thursday.

Not to mention, Lester is facing off against the lowly Milwaukee Brewers. With an average of two runs scored over the last five games, it seems pretty obvious that Lester should put up similar results. At $1,400 less than Sonny Gray, Lester is an affordable ace for owners to target.


Prince Fielder, Texas Rangers ($4,500)

Prince Fielder’s comeback season just keeps on going with another hot stretch recently. Over his last 10 games, Fielder is averaging over 10 fantasy points with five extra-base hits, including two homers.

Oh, let’s also note that he has a perfect matchup on Thursday.

Ervin Santana has struggled in his last three starts, allowing 19 runs over that stretch with his last outing ending after 2.1 innings. Fielder holds a .444 on-base percentage against Santana with three home runs and a double. If you aren’t convinced by now, maybe this isn’t for you. Fielder is a lock.


Michael Cuddyer, New York Mets ($3,400)

In order to afford the Jon Lesters and Prince Fielders of the world, you’ll need a value pick. Look no further than Michael Cuddyer. The New York Mets outfielder is back to the torrid pace he was on before hitting the disabled list last month.

Cuddyer’s three hits, two runs, RBI and stolen base over the last two games prove he doesn’t have any lingering effects. He’s also facing Eddie Butler, who has been horrid at the MLB level this season. The stars are aligned for Cuddyer to go off, so don’t miss this opportunity before his price goes up again.



Mat Latos, Los Angeles Dodgers ($7,200)

Most of the pitchers at the top of DraftKings‘ price sheet on Thursday are worthy of their salary. However, when looking for a pitcher to pair them up with, Mat Latos is not a formidable option. Even at $7,200, Latos is coming at too high of a price for his recent performance.

In his last two starts, Latos hasn’t fooled anyone with just one strikeout—combined. While Latos would likely love to shut down his former team, the Cincinnati Reds are simply too patient at 22nd in the MLB in strikeouts (822). Wielding bats like Todd Frazier, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, the Reds stars will get the better of their former teammate.


Josh Reddick, Oakland Athletics ($4,100)

Josh Reddick is struggling. Like, getting the bat remotely close to the ball has been a tall task recently. Over his last 10 games, Reddick has barely averaged three fantasy points and has just one game where he reached double digits.

Reddick doesn’t have a difficult matchup with Mark Buehrle on the mound, but the Toronto Blue Jays pitcher has a habit of making batters uncomfortable. His fast approach to the plate combined with Reddick‘s recent struggles are a bad omen for DraftKings owners.

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Have the LA Dodgers Done Enough to Capture Elusive World Series Title?

Two teams that haven’t won the World Series in more than two decades went all in at the July 31 trade deadline.

One team with a $230 million payroll and a 27-year drought did not.

The Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays acted as if they were desperate to win this year. The Los Angeles Dodgers did not.

The Dodgers still have a team good enough to win a first World Series since 1988. For all that money—and it’s actually more than $300 million, if you count the cash the Dodgers have included in trades—they ought to have a chance.

But for all that money, shouldn’t they have more than just a chance? If they were desperate to win this year, shouldn’t they have ended up with David Price or Cole Hamels as their big pitching addition, not Mat Latos?

Latos has talent, and scouts who saw him over the last month will tell you that he looked as good as his July numbers (a 1.80 ERA in three starts after coming off the disabled list) would indicate. Also, as a free agent at the end of the season, there’s more chance that he’ll be motivated and less chance that he’ll disrupt an already volatile clubhouse.

But he’s not Price, the left-hander who went to the Blue Jays and showed again in his Monday debut why he was considered the top talent on the market.

Many people in baseball expected the Dodgers to get Price, especially after Hamels went from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Texas Rangers. But when the Dodgers made it clear to the Detroit Tigers that all of their top prospects would be off-limits in trade talks (not just Corey Seager and Julio Urias, but lesser names like Jose De Leon, as well), the talks never got serious.

The Tigers quickly understood that they could do better by sending Price elsewhere, and in the deal with Toronto, they got three quality left-handed pitchers. The Dodgers got Latos, Alex Wood, Luis Avilan and Jim Johnson without parting with any top young prospects because they were willing to take on so much salary in what became a three-way deal with the Miami Marlins and Atlanta Braves.

It’s a fair argument that the Dodgers still got what they needed, a solid big league starter to put behind Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, another good young arm in Wood and a pair of arms to add to their shaky bullpen. They didn’t do badly at the deadline, not at all.

But with all that money spent and no World Series titles since the Kirk Gibson-inspired 1988 championship, the lingering question will always be whether they should have done better.

With Kershaw, Greinke and Price (or Hamels), the Dodgers would have looked like overwhelming favorites. With Kershaw, Greinke and Latos, they look like a team that could win, if things break their way.

The first weekend with the new rotation went just fine, with Greinke, Kershaw and Latos combining for 22 innings with just three runs allowed to the Los Angeles Angels, as the Dodgers swept the Freeway Series.

Nice start, but the Freeway Series isn’t the World Series.

To get to the real thing, the Dodgers may well need to get past the St. Louis Cardinals, the team that has eliminated them the last two seasons (and the team Kershaw has a 7.14 ERA against in four starts in those two series). The Dodgers had their Kershaw-Greinke combination in those two series too. They had Hyun-jin Ryu as their third starter.

And it wasn’t enough.

The Dodgers still aren’t an offensive powerhouse (they’re 15th in MLB in runs scored), and their bullpen still doesn’t dominate (their 3.91 relief ERA is 23rd in the majors). They have questions at the top of their batting order, where Jimmy Rollins (.272 on-base percentage) has replaced rookie Joc Pederson (.488 OPS with four walks and 31 strikeouts in 96 July plate appearances).

They’ve been good enough to stay atop the National League West, good enough to play at a pace that projects to 93 wins, right about what they had last year and the year before.

They should get to the playoffs, and they should get there with some chance to win it all. They’ll get there having preserved the prospect base that gives them a solid future.

All that is fine, and in an analytical sense, I’m sure it all fits. But baseball is an emotional game, too, and Dodger fans’ emotions tell them it’s been an awful long time since they celebrated a championship.

Perhaps this could have been the year. Perhaps it still could be.

For a third of a billion dollars, or whatever it is the Dodgers are spending, you’d think they could do better than perhaps.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

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Re-Evaluating the Cincinnati Reds’ Top Draft Picks from the Past Decade

It’s what’s on the agenda when a team is eight games under .500 and 11.5 games out of first before June. Because a Reds rebuild seems all but certain with ace Johnny Cueto playing in the final year of his contract, it’s time to assess what’s worked and what’s in store.

What has Walt Jocketty assembled in the last seven seasons, and what did previous general manager Wayne Krivsky leave him with? The following is a list of the Reds’ first-round draft picks from the past decade:


2005: Jay Bruce, OF

Has time snuck up on you too? Jay Bruce was drafted 12th overall that year and was widely considered the future. He was called up to replace Corey Patterson in the early part of 2008 after hitting above .300 across three minor league levels in 2007.

Did he go on to become the Reds’ future? The term’s subjective—after all, it was Bruce’s looping swing that ended the playoff drought and brought the Reds back for the first time in a decade. It’s hard to argue that he became the face of this franchise—Joey Votto or Johnny Cueto may have thoughts on that matter—but there’s no denying he’s contributed in a big way.

His rookie season, he finished No. 5 overall in Rookie of the Year voting, he’s a three-time All-Star with two Silver Slugger awards, and he finished No. 10 in MVP voting two years straight (’12-’13).

He’s a career .250/.323/.486 but has 571 RBI and 189 home runs. In now his eighth year, Bruce has only hit fewer than 20 home runs once—last year, a year that featured arthroscopic knee surgery.

Despite a lengthy slump, there is no denying how prolific Bruce has been to a playoff roster. This was a successful pick by Krivsky. Considering his contract and the Reds’ oncoming fire sale, it’s likely we’ll see the end of the Bruce era here. He’s likely to fetch a good return, especially if his recent hot streak continues.


2006: Drew Stubbs, OF

Believe it or not, Stubbs was the eighth overall pick that year. He ended up debuting with the Reds in 2009 as the Reds were assembling their new product post-Griffey-Dunn Era, ripe with high draft picks.

In a lot of ways, Stubbs contributed—his defense in center was good, and averaging nearly 30 stolen bases and over 12 home runs a season was good. But power aside, Stubbs was not a good hitter. His OBP was never higher than .329; .255 was the highest average he’d have in four years—all of which are very forgettable, especially for a top-10 overall draft pick.

But Walt Jocketty turned Drew Stubbs into Shin-Soo Choo, a pivotal piece of the Reds’ 2013 playoff campaign. And for that, Stubbs proved even more useful.


2007: Devin Mesoraco C, Todd Frazier 3B, Kyle Lotzkar RHP

Can we universally agree the first two names from 2007 are successes? Both made the All-Star Game in 2014, and Frazier was a Home Run Derby for what it’s worth, the first Reds participant since Ken Griffey Jr.

But Frazier is currently No. 2 in NL home runs behind Bryce Harper. His career line in now his fourth season is .258/.328/.461, but there’s no denying the impact he’s had on the Reds offense. He’s had two good batting average years (.273 in ’12 and ’14) and two bad ones (.232 in ’11, .234 in ’13).

He’s one of the only notable acts happening at Great American Ball Park right now. Devin Mesoraco perhaps would be, but he can’t stay healthy. The young slugger has made it to the disabled list again after just 51 plate appearances.

For his career, he’s slashing an unimpressive .242/.313/.423. But Mesoraco has just two years since 2011 where he’s played in over 100 games. He was an All-Star last season, a season that featured a career-high 440 plate appearances.

Kyle Lotzkar came and went. This was a swing and miss of Jonny Gomes caliber. He never made it higher than Double-A, which is where he’s at now, within the Texas Rangers organization.

Thus ends the Krivsky portion of the re-evaluation. Time to see how Walt did.


2008: Yonder Alonso, 1B

Was Yonder Alonso a successful pick? Walt Jocketty turned him and two other first-round draft picks into Mat Latos, the key No. 2 in the rotation that earned the Reds the 2012 NL Central crown. He was also the pitcher who surrendered the deciding Buster Posey grand slam to end that season.

That was Latos’ most important pitch as a Red, but there’s no denying his three exceptional years in a Reds uniform, never finishing with an ERA above 3.48 and tossing over 200 innings twice.


2009: Mike Leake SP, Bradley Boxberger RHP

Despite Mike Leake’s recent struggles, this pick skipped the farm and went right to the pros after being drafted. He’s never been asked to be the ace, and prior to this season, he’s never had to play the role of a No. 2 guy. So his career 55-46 3.97 is a remarkable contribution.

Leake threw over 200 innings for the first time last year. He’s on pace to do it again this season. Should the Reds enter rebuild, Leake is a candidate for trade, but he’s also an extension candidate, especially if and when the Reds move Cueto and free themselves of enormous fiscal responsibility.

Bradley Boxberger was packaged with Alonso and one other to land Latos.

2010: Yasmani Grandal, C

Grandal was also moved in the package for Latos. Devin Mesoraco won the role of Reds future catcher in Cincinnati.


2011: Robert Stephenson, SP 

Baseball America‘s No. 1 Reds prospect and one of the Reds’ only two Top 100 MLB prospects (MLB.com), Stephenson has struggled mightily since reaching Double-A. In now his third Double-A season, the promising right-hander is 9-16 with a 4.87 ERA.

That’s not to say there isn’t serious potential here—there most assuredly is. In 39.1 innings pitched, Stephenson’s recorded 46 strikeouts. That’s serious. The problem is his control. He’s averaging 6.6 walks per nine innings. Command has plagued him since reaching Double-A, after he finished averaging seven walks per nine innings in 2013.


2012: Nick Travieso SP, Jesse Winker OF, Jeff Gelalich OF

Nick Travieso is developing fine as the Reds’ No. 8 prospect. He’s 2-4 with a 3.88 ERA and 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s just in High-A, so it’s unlikely we’ll see him anytime soon.

Jesse Winker is the other Top 100 MLB prospect the Reds are sitting on and the Reds’ No.3 prospect, according to Baseball America. Prior to his wrist injury last season, Winker was killing it. But since reaching Double-A last season, Winker is slashing .225/.341/.333.

That could be just due to a cold start—Winker did impress in the Arizona Fall League (hit .338). Still, there’s no reason to suggest he’s regressing or anything yet, not unless his averages remain like this for the whole season. 

Winker is considered by man to be the heir to Jay Bruce’s throne in left field. 

Jeff Gelalich is now in his fourth minor league season. He’s still hovering around High-A and is only slashing .240/.326/.332. This left-handed hitter is a working project, often displaying flashes of potential, but he lacks consistency. 

2013: Phillip Ervin OF, Michael Lorenzen SP

Ervin bats behind Gelalich for the High-A Daytona Tortugas. It’s the highest level of competition he’s seen, and thus far he is handling it fine, slashing .253/.338/.460 in 202 plate appearances. 

Ervin wasn’t listed as an organizational top prospect, but he’s coming off a poor season in Dayton, where he hit just .238.

Michael Lorenzen, the No. 4 organizational prospect, has been an incredible draft pick so far. Lorenzen was pitching in Double-A last season. He started this year in Triple-A, and following season-ending surgery for Bailey, he’s pitching in The Show and doing it well (1-1, 3.12).

2014: Nick Howard RHP, Alex Blandino SS

A closer in college, the Reds tried converting Howard to a starter, and prior to this season, it was looking like a good move. This season has been brutal for Howard, though, and following a bad stretch where he surrendered 10 earned runs in three starts and never made it out of the fourth inning, he was moved back to the bullpen.

After three scoreless appearances from the bullpen, Howard’s been roughed up. He’s sporting a 7.03 ERA and a WHIP over 2.00.

Alex Blandino, however, is performing well in the same lineup as Ervin and Gelalich. He’s slashing .319/.405/.448. Numbers like this make him an enticing heir to Zack Cozart’s throne.

Krisky’s last picks, minus Lotzkar, were all good. The jury is still out on Jocketty’s 12 picks. Three of the 12 became Latos, who ultimately became Anthony DeSclafani, so hard to knock those. Two of the 12 are currently in the Reds starting rotation. The other seven are in development, but none of them above Double-A.

Still, from a pitching stance, the pipeline seems stocked with future contributors, provided they make it.

Stats courtesy of Baseball-reference.com unless noted otherwise. Organizational rankings compliments of BaseballAmerica.com while Top-100 prospects come from MLB.com.

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Mat Latos Injury: Updates on Marlins P’s Knee and Return

Much was expected of Mat Latos after he joined the Miami Marlins. So far, Latos has fallen way short of those expectations, and now he’s destined for a spell on the disabled list.

Continue for updates.

Latos Placed on 15-Day DL

Friday, May 22

According to Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald, the Marlins placed Latos on the 15-day DL on Friday as the starting pitcher deals with inflammation in his left knee.

Through nine starts, the 27-year-old is 1-4 with a 6.12 earned run average. Latos‘ ERA is somewhat deceiving since he has a 3.48 FIP, per FanGraphs. Opposing hitters are also batting .358 against Latos on balls in play, which is abnormally high.

Latos‘ numbers should level out as the year goes on, but that’s obviously not going to happen with him off the field for the time being. 

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On Former Red Mat Latos’ Comments: Truth Is Probably Somewhere in Between

Ever spoken with a recently terminated employee? Ever heard what they have to say about their former employer? Even if you haven’t, if you read the comments from Mat Latos in an interview with Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, you’ll see how it goes.

Sour. Slanted and bitter. Often alarmingly transparent. Latos actually nailed it to a single “T.”

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to what he said—or at least some of it.

The comments regarding the medical staff were fraudulent and insulting. I don’t have any special insight on the matter, but anyone can Google back to last June and read how not only eager Latos was to return to the mound, but how miffed he was at the idea of another minor league stint. 

“It’s pretty bogus I have to go on another rehab assignment,” Latos said to John Fay of The Cincinnati Enquirer. “But it it is what it is. I don’t make the decisions around here. I’m a puppet on a string. I get told to do what I need to do and I do it.”

Bogus indeed. And while nothing would impress @SportsDad more, the fact of the matter is that we know by his very own admission he wasn’t being rushed back. So personally speaking, I gave little thought or merit to any comments regarding the medical staff. 

And it makes sense why he’d point the finger at them. Right now, Latos is damaged goods. He unwillingly wears the tag like an American Eagle shirt does its logo. Multiple stints on the DL will do that—it’s beyond his control. So a comment like that selfishly removes accountability, making it more about the doctors than his body, an important detail as he nears free agency.

It’s the comments about the clubhouse that interest me most. Comments about preparation, dedication, leadership—the kinds of things Reds fans have been talking about since Scott Rolen retired and Dusty Baker was left to juggle the egos of 25 professional athletes, or chainsaws for short. 

Many considered Baker’s inability to do this as a massive shortcoming. Baseball managers aren’t so much about X’s and O’s as they are about establishing a pace or a tone—an expectation. And with Baker’s dismissal came the expectation that new manager Bryan Price may satisfy that need.

“A culture of accountability,” it was called in an interview with Paul Daugherty of The Cincinnati Enquirer, via The Indianapolis Star.

So naturally—and especially if you were particularly not fond of Dusty Baker—Latos‘ comments about the clubhouse may be too tough to swallow or at least a little unpleasant going down. Because if there is any degree of truth to what Latos said, then the culture of accountability was about as real as Narnia.

And that means, maybe, belief in Price changing the culture is just as fictional. Maybe.

Of course, anything we take from the spat is speculative. But why would Latos go into that much detail about player behavior if it wasn’t true? Why would he boldly list years of service or player roles—clues for us to determine who he was talking about? How does that serve him?

Because he was hurt? And in typical fashion, like we discussed at the beginning of this article, because bitter former employees lash out to ease the pain?

OK. Let’s say that’s the case. Let’s proceed as if Latos‘ assumed Johnny Cueto jealousy is real and it’s the crux of the malice Latos is dishing. Remove Latos from the equation.

Would you honestly be shocked to hear Aroldis Chapman was sleeping in the clubhouse early in games? Would you really be baffled to hear that there’s been a serious leadership void post Rolen and Bronson Arroyo? 

Of course you wouldn’t, because leadership was already a topic of concern. Remember Paul Daugherty’s article in The Cincinnati Enquirer, authored some eight days before Latos dropped the bomb—an article entitled, “Bryan Price says Reds problem isn’t leadership.” 

Leadership was already a hot topic. And while the temptation to dismiss Latos like an agitated, resentful former employee is enormous, there could be an uncomfortably large degree of truth to what he said about the Reds’ clubhouse.

There is typically truth to the words from an employee who leaves his or her organization on unfavorable terms. That’s why most companies have separation agreements. Latos needed a separation agreement. 

And what about the good things he said? Why did he go at lengths to acknowledge specific players? No doubt they were friends, but his comments about them seemed pretty genuine, no? How does discussing Joey Votto’s criticism and how wrong it is play into the narrative of the dishonest, bitter former employee?

A common reaction to Latos‘ comments is that he’s only demonstrating what a terrible leader he was. But so what? What does that matter, and how is that relevant to the Reds now that he’s pitching for the Miami Marlins? Who in Cincinnati cares about Mat Latos‘ leadership now? It’s about the team he left behind. And it’s plausible that team has a serious void in leadership, the same gap fans have routinely questioned for nearly three years; the same gap that Reds ownership sold us on being filled.

I can’t emphasize enough that I’m not validating any of what Latos said. I’m suggesting there’s a reason he said it. I’m suggesting that there probably is a void in leadership, and I’m suggesting you already know this. So knowing that from the beginning, you have to at least acknowledge what Latos said as more than just “tabloid B.S.,” as Price described it to C. Trent Rosecrans of The Cincinnati Enquirer, via USA Today.

“If this was a court of law, the cross examination would go after the credibility of the witness,” said Reds starter Homer Bailey in the same article. Indeed. But this isn’t court and Latos’ testimony is very admissible.

Were the comments unfair? Absolutely. But what does fair have to do with it? Latos‘ maturity and his reluctance to demonstrate how improved it is will mean more to his agent after next season. But the Reds’ apparent inability to find a leader and set an expectation in the clubhouse may mean a little more to you. 

If it’s true, of course. 

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