Quick Thoughts on Latos to the Reds

Details are still coming out, but it appears the Reds have acquired starting pitch Mat Latos from the Padres in exchange for Cincinnati's top prospect, first baseman Yonder Alonso.

This trade makes a lot of sense for both teams. The Reds didn't have a whole lot of options with Alonso, unless they were willing to trade Joey Votto (who is only just now entering his peak years age-wise). And the Reds' biggest need this off-season was to bolster their starting rotation, which boasted the worst FIP in the NL last year.

The Padres needed a boost to their offense (.292 wOBA in 2011), and Alonso potentially gives them a young slugger that won't hit arbitration until 2015.

Latos is a 6'6", dominant 24 year-old starter who won't be arbitration eligible until 2013, and won't hit free agency until 2016.

The big question for the Reds (and any other team dealing with San Diego) is how Latos will translate to their hitter-friendly park.

Latos has had the benefit of pitching in one of the most pitcher-friendly venues for the past few years, but his home/road splits are pretty even. His career FIP home/road split is 3.25/3.30, and of course that's driven by his seemingly unaffected HR/FB rate. Moreover, his BABIP was unaffected by pitching away from PETCO.

He does have one of the lower GB/FB ratios in the league among starting pitchers (1.03), but the high frequency of fly balls hasn't bit him like it might other pitchers. That tells you that his success isn't simply tied to PETCO Park.

Latos is also a guy that, bottom line, keeps runners off base. In his first three years he's averaged striking out 23.5% of all batters faced and only walked 7.7%. Since 2009, Latos is one of 16 starters to average over 8 K/9 and less than 3 BB/9.

Overall, I think this is a great move for both clubs--both were able to fill a big need with a young, club-controlled player. Alonso is a big chip, but if you are going to use it getting a young anchor for your rotation isn't too shabby.

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