Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Cincinnati Reds Go For It

Last Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds traded for right hand pitcher Mat Latos from the San Diego Padres. The Reds gave up Yonder Alonzo, Edinson Volquez, minor league relief pitcher Brad Boxberger, and minor league catcher Yasmani Grandal. Let's take a look at the trade.

A Heavy Price

The Reds gave up a lot in quality prospects. Yonder Alonzo is a sure thing as a major league hitter. Ysmani Grandal is a quality minor league catcher. Both were number one picks. Brad Boxberger may someday be a major league closer. Edinson Volquez is a head case but he made the All Star team in 2008. His problem is throwing strikes. Note that all of these players have guys on the roster in front of them. So the Reds are not robbing Peter to pay for Paul.

The Reds get a young starting pitcher who is 24 in Mat Latos. (Pictured.) He's been in the majors for three seasons compiling a record of 27-29 and an ERA of 3.37. He's a big guy at 6'6" which means he pitches come at you at a downward plane. He gives you innings and throws strikes. He has the stuff of a number one starting pitcher. And here's the great bonus. The Reds would control him for the next four years before he becomes eligible for free agency. That's something important for a mid-market team which can't shell out the bucks like the New York Yankees. To get a pitcher like Latos requires a lot in prospects. He's high quality and cheap in baseball terms.


One of the problems with the 2011 Reds was starting pitching. Reds starters Travis Wood, Bronson Arroyo and Edinson Volquez all failed. There were other problems such as hitting with runners in scoring position. But to win in baseball you need pitching. And the getting Mat Latos addresses one Reds weakness.

The Reds have a window to win the National League Central. First, the St. Louis Cardinals have lost superstar Albert Pujols. The Milwaukee Brewers will likely lose Prince Fielder to free agency and MVP Ryan Braun will miss 50 games for a drug suspension. The Reds will have former MVP stud Joey Votto for two more years.

By getting Latos, the Reds are saying to Reds Nation, "we're going for it." Did it cost a lot? Yes. But Latos is under Reds control for four years. This is the short term strategy along with a long term strategy that a major league team needs if it is serious about winning. This trade was a positive move for he Reds if the intent was to win the NL Central.

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