Cincinnati Reds Acquire Mat Latos from the San Diego Padres for Yonder Alonso

By Bryan Lutz

A couple of days after the Fathers stated they weren’t going to trade their right-handed ace, they ship him to the Midwest.

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I really like this move for both squads.

Latos, 24, has been quietly – or not so quietly if you are a Giants fan – one of the better pitchers in the National League. He does everything you want a pitcher to do; he strikes you out, has good control, and doesn’t allow home runs. Well, he doesn’t allow homers for now.

Latos is moving from the canyon that is Petco Park to the bandbox that is Great American Smallpark. Latos’ 42.8 ground-ball percentage is concerning when evaluating the trade, because a lot of those fly-balls he was allowing, will now be home runs in Cinci. Other than that, there are no signs Latos has been a pitcher predicated on luck. All his nerdy sabermetrically stats check out for a successful 2012 campaign.

Latos’ price was a steep one, as the Reds let go of Yonder Alonso. Alonso, who was the team’s first round pick in 2008, was a man without a position for the Reds. There certainly wasn’t a question about Alonso’s hitting prowess, but his defensive liabilities were too much of a question for the Reds. Alonso had a -3.7 UZR coupled with a .958 FPCT in 14 outfield starts last season. First base is the most suitable position for Alonso, but with the Reds having that Votto guy, they looked at other positions for 24-year old talent. Alonso did have a .943 OPS in those 14 games, and had a .860 OPS in AAA last season.
***UPDATE*** The Padres got even more from the Reds.

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Quick take on the other pieces, Grandal is a fantastic catching prospect, Volquez has the arm, but needs to find his control, and Boxberger should be a nice arm for the Padres in the future.

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