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So, the Padres won the Mat Latos deal?

Jun 2, 2012, 9:46 PM EDT

Edinson Volquez Getty Images

The way it’s worked out, the Reds’ Mat Latos and the Padres’ Edinson Volquez have made their starts on the same day five straight times now, making it hard not to compare the two. It’s a comparison Volquez is winning hands down.

Volquez limited the Diamondbacks to two runs and four hits in six innings Saturday, while Latos was tagged for seven runs — four earned — in 3 1/3 innings by the Astros. It left Volquez with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 12 starts and Latos with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 11 starts.

Of course, ERA doesn’t tell the whole story here. Volquez is pitching half of his games in Petco Park, while Latos has the misfortune of working at Great American. Still, the home park isn’t Latos’ problem so far. Latos has a 4.10 ERA in six starts at home and a 6.12 ERA in five away starts. Volquez has a 3.17 ERA in eight home starts and a 3.97 ERA in four road outings.

Of the two, I’d still take Latos for the rest of the season. Volquez continues to have issues with walks and hasn’t been working deep into games. Latos’ road struggles seem like a fluke, given that he has allowed just two homers away from Great American.

Still, the Reds gave up an awful lot of talent to get the supposed upgrade from Volquez to Latos, parting with first baseman Yonder Alonso, catcher Yasmani Grandal and reliever Brad Boxberger in the trade. It won’t necessarily doom their chances in the NL Central — they didn’t really have room for Alonso or Grandal this year anyway — but it would be a bitter pill to swallow if Volquez remains the superior pitcher the whole year through.

  1. whodeytn - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    As bad as Latos is pitching, I’m still okay with the trade. EV needed to be shipped out and Alonso/Grandal had no way to get any playing time.

    • hfspodcast - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      Yup, With Hannigan and Meso at Catcher Grandal would not see the field for some time and Hannigan while not a “Sexy Name” is still a helluva catcher and honestly hitting and fielding like and all star this year. Alonso is best at 1B, and Boxberger seemed like a great talent, but honestly we have no room in our bullpen for him, and thats with 2 mainstays on the DL, when they come back you have to ask who do they send down? JJ Hoover? Pitched too well, Ondrusek? Pitched WAY TOO WELL.
      Latos is a 24 year old who has been very good the last couple of years and has huge upside, Volquez has had a resurgence this year but in reality only had one really great year in the bigs. I am thankful every day he did not sign that big contract The Reds offered him last off season.
      We traded 3 guys who were blocked at the bigs and 1 guy who couldn’t get my mother out (last year) for someone who struggled in April and his first start in june but was VERY GOOD in may. I’ll take my chances on the 24 Year Old.

    • bigmeechy74 - Jun 4, 2012 at 1:32 AM

      That isn’t the point. They could have used those assets to get someone MUCH better than Mat Latos.

      • cggarb - Jun 4, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        Like who? Needs to be a pitcher, under team control for several more years, and very inexpensive.

        I don’t recall seeing any other such guys on the trading block.

  2. contraryguy - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    So neither of them work late into games. We know that. What isn’t said is that the Reds have the best bullpen in the NL. That fact alone will keep the Reds in the race, and keep Latos in the rotation.

    Still a dodgy trade, though.

  3. jumbro10 - Jun 2, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    First off, it was more a mentality thing. Going after latos showed the fans the organization was ALL IN. I would do it again.

    Secondly, give it time. Great thing about this deal is that it wasnt a player rental for a year. Latos is a red for years to come and his success will be measured over that whole period.

  4. jumbro10 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    O, and thirdly…the young talent was blocked from ever having an impact with votto at first and hanigan and mesy behind the plate.

  5. paperlions - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM

    The above are all besides the point. The fact that Grandal and Alonso were blocked and that Volquez needed a change of scenery only means that they were assets that needed to be traded to address needs….not that the deal itself was a good one. The deal looked like a lot of talent to give up for Latos when it was made as Latos will be a FA after 2013 and if he pitches well, won’t be cheap in arbitration next year either….just a lot to pay in dollars and talent even if Latos was an upgrade, which he hasn’t been thus far.

    • brewcitybummer - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:53 PM

      Thank you. Saying that the prospects were blocked NEVER justisfies a trade by itself. That logic pretends that the only alternative to that particular trade was to use the prospects on the major league team.

      They could have made a different trade at the time or waited for a better one. Everybody please stop using this argument.

      I’m not attacking Latos, this trade or Reds fans. Just this stupid argument that never dies.

      • The Baseball Idiot - Jun 3, 2012 at 3:59 AM

        Wrong. That’s exactly why teams stockpile prospects. To trade them for current major league players and more prospects. To trade for more current major leauge players.

        That’s why teams draft multiple players at the same postion, to include the same year. Draft them, develop them, and then deciede to keep them or trade them.

        Teams do not keep 3 major-league ready shortstops in the minors for “organizational depth”. They will readily trade them off for help at other positions.

      • js20011041 - Jun 3, 2012 at 7:38 AM

        He’s not making the argument that you keep three major league shortstops in the organization for depth. He’s arguing that just because you have depth at a position, it doesn’t mean you trade them just to get rid of them. You just have to wait for the right deal. To trade them just because you have depth at that particular position is to give all of the negotiating leverage to the opposing GM.

      • quintjs - Jun 3, 2012 at 7:51 AM

        I for one never quite understood how a deal with the Rays never happened. Rays could have done with an upgrade (at the time especially) at C and 1B. I am sure something could have been done that would have gotten the Reds a controllable starter such as Mcgee or Hellickson at the least.

      • brewcitybummer - Jun 3, 2012 at 9:50 AM

        Baseball Idiot, your general point is basically accurate but it can be summarized in three words: prospects are assets.

        Assets don’t just have value, they have a specific value. Obviously in the case of prospects that value is both subjective and fluid but it is still a variable and not simply a yes or no designation. But I digress.

        The point is since prospects have a specific value it is possible to exchange them for something of greater or lesser value. That equation, along with each teams circumstances (level of competitiveness) are how trades should be evaluated.

        This idea that prospects have little or no value to their organization if they are blocked is just false. If you still do not understand, please google “opportunity cost”.

    • ezthinking - Jun 3, 2012 at 9:23 AM

      If money is the issue, the Reds saved a ton.

      Latos isn’t a free agent until 2016. Volquez is a free agent after 2013.

      Latos is Arb eligible next year for the first time. He’s getting $550,000 this season.

      Volquez is paid $2,237,500 this season and is Arb 3 next year. Keeps going like this and he will cost nearly $10 mil next season.

    • phillyphreak - Jun 3, 2012 at 9:35 AM

      FA after 2015 season not 2013.

      • paperlions - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        My bad, for some reason I was thinking Latos was already in abritration….still, a minor point. In part because good pitchers are still expensive in arbitration, but mostly because he hasn’t been any good and they still gave up two top prospects and got (so far) nothing in return.

      • phillyphreak - Jun 3, 2012 at 11:30 AM

        Yea I understand that they gave up talent, but Latos is talented himself and could turn into a pretty darn good pitcher still. Alonso is a 1B/DH only type (blocked by Votto) and Grandal has questions about his ability to catch (also blocked by Mesoraco). I think it was a good bit of talent to give up, but could be worth it.

    • cggarb - Jun 4, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      This is simply incorrect information. Latos is NOT a free agent after 2013. He’s under team control through 2015.

      Volquez, however, is FA-eligible after 2013.

  6. metalhead65 - Jun 2, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    how long are the reds going to have to wait for edinson latos to turn into the pitcher they thought they were getting when they made the deal? it is June now and he still can’t go 5 innings in a game. last week people were praising him because he went 7 innings in the heat against the rockies, he gave up 5 hits all of which were homers in a game the reds won 7-5. how is that considered a quality start? I hope you are right but I am not impressed so far and if you watch or listen to reds games I don’t think you would be either.

    • T Pot - Jun 3, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      I’m guessing you never saw or heard of Latos until he became a Red. He has the the raw talent of a dominant SP. He just needs to realize it. Plus at 450,000 he is a bargain like no other. I have no worries about him, he will be the ace of the staff, no disrespect to Cueto, but Latos has better stuff

  7. sjsharksfan11 - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:02 PM

    It’s all a moot point because the Padres suck, will continue to suck, and have always sucked. They’re just like the A’s but worse and in the NL.

    • hoopmatch - Jun 3, 2012 at 5:08 AM

      But the Padres have Dick Enberg calling games, which is a good reason to watch them.

  8. icanspeel - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    The Padres definitely won the trade, but the Reds didn’t lose the trade either as they didn’t have spots for the players they gave up.

  9. goldensombrero3000 - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:22 PM

    Votto could win the MVP again this year and the Hanigan-Mesorasco combo behind the plate is the best in baseball. It takes 10 pitches to get Hanigan out if you can. A great staple in the lineup. The Reds didn’t lose anything.

    Rangers-Reds 2012 World Series.

    • paperlions - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      Hanigan is averaging fewer than 4 pitches per plate appearance.

  10. vincentbojackson - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:25 PM

    The point is, the Reds would be better off at the moment with Volquez and the guys they gave up to use as pieces to make a splash at the trade deadline.

    Latos was supposed to be the no. 1 starter the Reds have been looking for for years. So far he’s a major disappointment on an otherwise solid team.

  11. wildbob - Jun 2, 2012 at 11:42 PM

    Latos actually has a lower xFIP than Volquez: 4.21 for Latos and 4.33 for Volquez after today. I don’t really think there’s much of a difference between the two.

  12. metalhead65 - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:30 AM

    what you see from volquez now is the best you are going to get from him. there is a reason the rangers could not wait to get rid of him when they fleeced the reds in the hamilton deal.and yes they they fleeced them,he was the last guy still with the reds in the deal, and the reds finally saw that when they agreed to ship him to the padres. thankfully volquez was stupid enough to turn down the reds multi year contract they offered,the same one queto accepted thankfully that would have payed that loser 27 million bucks. given the way he has pitched and being dumb enough to turn down a offer like that should be a warining sign to anyone thinking of over paying him next year.

  13. jonrox - Jun 3, 2012 at 1:13 AM

    Check out Latos’ splits; he always does terribly in April. As with the rest of his career, Latos had a brilliant May in 2012 (3-0, 3.26 ERA, 1.12 WHIP 10.4 k/9). I’m not even worried about the most recent start, as June is his second worst career month (and he got hurt in the previous game.

    It’s probably true that the Reds overspent to get Latos, but Alonso and Boxberger aren’t exactly blooming into superstars despite having plenty of time to figure it out. Plus, Volquez needed a change of scenery because it was clear he wasn’t going to work out in Cincy anymore. We’ll soon see whether Grandal is legit.

    • paperlions - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      SSS fail.

      • jonrox - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:28 PM

        SSS?

      • paperlions - Jun 3, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        Small sample size.

        Latos doesn’t have enough starts in any month to draw any kind of conclusions like “he is a slow starter”. With the available data, there is no way to distinguish between natural variation in performance (and chance associated with stats like ERA/WHIP) and a true effect….and, by the time Latos does have enough starts for such stats to be potentially meaningful, much of the sample will be essentially irrelevant because he won’t be the same pitcher at that point as he was his first couple of years in the league.

      • cggarb - Jun 4, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Not terrible points, paperlions.

        Of course, they’re equally valid to this entire discussion — why are we assessing EITHER starting pitcher at this point in the year, let alone drawing conclusions about the trade?

        If Latos’ 13 career April starts are a too-small sample, then his 11 2012 starts must be.

  14. kfiz14 - Jun 3, 2012 at 2:11 AM

    Which team is in first place?

  15. phillyphreak - Jun 3, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    I’m glad we can now determine who won a trade after 2 months of baseball.

    • paperlions - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      It is nice, isn’t it? :-)

      FWIW, most everyone thought the Padres won the trade after 0 days of baseball.

      • phillyphreak - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:23 AM

        I’d prefer to wait until it fits the my own personal narrative.

      • paperlions - Jun 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM

        :-D

  16. jjpileggi - Jun 3, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    The Padres intelligently used an asset to build for tomorrow. It will be a while before we know the results of this trade.

    John Pileggi

  17. micker716 - Jun 3, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Yeah, Grandal and Alonso were blocked, but that doesn’t excuse overpaying for Latos. Those “assets” should have been used more intelligently to acquire talent.

    • cggarb - Jun 4, 2012 at 12:16 PM

      I’ve yet to see any suggestions as to who that could’ve been.

      Gio Gonzalez? They would’ve had to pay him the money that went to Votto.

  18. mrredlegz - Jun 4, 2012 at 12:16 AM

    I know, right? I can’t believe they went out and got the first pitcher they could find. Not only that, but I hear they didn’t even try to negotiate the Padres’ asking price.

    Which team do you work for? Oh, you just read about baseball on the internet and watch it on TV and stuff? I see.

    The Reds saved around 2 million in payroll on this deal, if I’m not mistaken. And they got a young, controllable arm with a lot of potential. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat if I were GM.

    And bravo to the genius who pointed out that good pitchers are expensive in arbitration and that Latos hasn’t been any good. Guess it’s lose-lose for the Reds.

    Padres are currently winning the Mat Latos deal. You can have that. But, as with any other contest….no one has won until the game is over. This article and the majority of its comments (yes, including mine), are a waste of space.

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