Life isn't always kind to a writer. Yesterday morning dawned and the idea struck that the Cincinnati Reds had done absolutely zilch this off season. So that was the theme of yesterday's post. The fortunate thing that happened after that post was written was having to spend thirteen hours at the mall trying to peddle the company's books. Why was that fortunate? Because there is no Internet at our mall. And why is that fortunate? Because that way this writer didn't find out until much later how silly the morning post looked after the blockbuster deal between the Reds and the San Diego Padres.
One Twitter buddy said he preferred to think of yesterday's post as a catalyst (which was kind). Another asked that this writer come up with a post talking about his team's glaring needs (which was hysterical). But enough about the Fan. What about that deal, eh? The Reds turned three prospects into Mat Latos. Don't be fooled by Latos' 9-14 record in 2011. This guy is a stud.
Latos is the kind of pitcher every team covets for the top of their rotation. In Latos, the Reds get a pitcher who just turned 24 this month and has already logged 72 starts in his big league career. His FIP in the last two seasons were 3.00 and 3.16 respectively. Opponents have batted .216 and .228 off of him the last two seasons. Batters have trouble squaring up the bat to his pitches. His line drive rates the last two years have been off the charts: 14.9 and 16.1 percent respectively.
And Latos' success can't be pinned solely on his home park in San Diego. Yes, his home OPS against was lower than on the road. But not by much. His OPS against at home was .641 last season and only .688 on the road. You would take that, no? Plus, he is not an extreme fly ball pitcher (when batters manage to hit the ball). His ground ball to fly ball ratio is 1.03 for his career. So that isn't something that would overly concern you heading into the Reds' little ballpark.
In yesterday's lame duck post, Yonder Alonso was featured as an up and coming player for the Reds. Well, forget that idea because he was one of the three prospects the Reds sent to the Padres. The Reds were trying to convert Alonso from first base to left field since Votto is a fixture at first. But in Keith Law's take on the trade over at ESPN.com yesterday, Law mentions that the left field move was ill-advised and that Law prefers Anthony Rizzo, the Padres incumbent first baseman. Alonso could then be dealt by the Padres for another need they might have.
While it's hard to argue with Keith Law, this writer thinks that Alonso could have worked out in left field for the Reds and the Reds line up will miss the young player. But you have to give up quality to get quality and that's just what the Reds did. The Reds most glaring need was in the rotation (as mentioned yesterday) and the Reds took care of that need in glorious fashion. They also got rid of a thorn in the organization's side.
Part of the deal sent Edinson Volquez to the Padres. The erstwhile starter the Reds obtained from the Rangers in the Josh Hamilton deal had a brilliant debut season for the Reds but has gone down hill since. Last year was particularly trying for all as Volquez had to endure two stints in the minors due to his ineffectiveness in the Reds' rotation. This Fan bets that Volquez pulls it together for the Padres gaining a comfort level in a much more pitcher friendly environment.
This Fan wouldn't call Brad Boxberger a spare part like others have when discussing this deal. Boxberger has a big arm and could have helped the Reds in the bullpen this season. That's still a big need for the Reds. But then again, when you can get a guy like Mat Latos, geez, you have to give up some quality if you have the chance. Latos, if he stays healthy (knocking wood), can be a terrific pitcher for the Reds for years to come. He's a fiery personality which makes him a tough competitor. He is an ace and aces are hard to find.
Merry Christmas, Reds fans. You got something pretty exciting to talk about today.