The game between the Cincinnati Reds and Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night may prove to be the most important game the two teams have played against each other since a bloop single by Hall of Famer Joe Morgan in the top of the ninth inning won Game 7 of the 1975 World Series for the Reds. Not because of the outcome of tonight’s game, but rather because the Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos may have very well been auditioning for his next new team in the Red Sox.
The Reds dangled Latos before the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July, which means that the team will most likely be looking to deal Latos after the season. And the Red Sox should be a perfect match.
Given the Reds’ swelling payroll, the team may not have any choice but to trade one or more of their starting pitchers eligible for free agency after 2015 (Latos, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and/or Alfredo Simon), and even one of their premier relievers (Jonathan Broxton or Aroldis Chapman).
The Reds are already committed to $80 million in payroll for 2015, and that figure doesn’t include a $10 million option for Cueto or nearly $10 million expected each for Latos and Chapman, or another $8 million for Leake to avoid arbitration.
With other players like Todd Frazier, Devin Mesoraco and Zack Cozart entering their first year of salary arbitration eligibility, the Reds will be looking at a hefty $130 million for 2015, which would be sheer poverty for the mega-market Red Sox but near bankruptcy for the small-market Reds.
With the Red Sox opting to be deadline sellers this year, they will undoubtedly come out throwing big money for starting pitching in the offseason, and Latos may be a prized target, especially after he demonstrated firsthand to the Red Sox just how good he is by tossing seven innings of one-run ball against them that lowered his season ERA to 2.95 and his WHIP to 0.94.
Maybe then Latos will be able to play for a team that can score more than two runs per game.