Take a deep breath and relax Reds fans, the Latos trade wasn’t as bad as it may seem.

As everyone knows by now, the Reds traded Mat Latos to the Miami Marlins for pitcher Anthony DeSclafani and catcher Chad Wallach. The early impression for most Reds fans is a feeling of slight disappointment. Many people felt that a Latos trade would net an upgrade for the gaping hole in left field. Outfielder Yoenis Cespedes of the Boston Red Sox was a popular topic of hot stove conjecture. Instead of a big name like Cespedes we ended up with a pitcher who put up an ugly 6.27 ERA in 2014 and a 23 year old catcher still in the low minors. Apparently our perception of Latos’ trade value did not match his true market value around the league.

We all thought Mat Latos would bring back a higher level of talent in return, but when you look around at all the other recent trades across baseball we can see that other good pitchers didn’t yield big hauls either. After a great 2014 season Jeff Samardzija was traded to the White Sox for Marcus Semien and most observers were shocked that was all the Athletics got, especially when you consider the A’s gave up an elite prospect to get him at the trade deadline just last July. Pitching is plentiful these days. This is a low-scoring era when good pitchers seem to be sprouting up everywhere. Teams are unwilling to give up top prospects for impending free agents with large salaries like Mat Latos, even more so when there are injury concerns attached.

But was it really that bad? Let’s take a deeper look at the players the Reds received …

Anthony DeSclafani is a 24-year-old right-handed starting pitcher (he turns 25 two weeks after Opening Day). He was originally drafted in the 6th round back in 2011 by the Blue Jays. After one season in the Toronto system he was included in a controversial, 12-player blockbuster trade with the Marlins that sent Jose Reyes, Mark Buerhle and 5 others north of the border in what was billed as a massive salary purge by Miami.

DeSclafani rose quickly through the depleted Marlins farm system to reach the majors in less than 2 years. In 2014 he bounced from the minors to the majors multiple times, ultimately pitching only 33 innings for the Marlins including 5 starts and 8 relief appearances. His 6.27 ERA looks bad but fortunately his peripheral stats are much better. An unlucky .330 BABIP and an extremely unlucky 58% Strand Rate led to an ERA that was nearly twice as high as it should have been. DeSclafani’s 3.77 FIP, 3.80 xFIP and 3.70 SIERA all indicate that he actually pitched pretty well during his abbreviated major league debut season.

DeSclafani’s 7.09 strikeouts per 9 innings were not impressive, but that is only a tick below the 7.34 K/9 league average for starting pitchers. On the positive side, his excellent 1.36 BB/9 would have ranked him near the top of the league if he had thrown enough innings to qualify. His strikeout rate in the minors averaged about 8 K/9, which is decent but does not inspire much confidence that he can be an above average pitcher in the majors. It is possible to succeed with a subpar strikeout rate if you can keep the walk rate low, which is something DeSclafani has been able to do throughout his minor league career. His ability to limit walks enabled DeSclafani to post a 14.4 K-BB% score, which is safely above the major league average of 12% in this key metric. That 14.4% score was better than Homer Bailey, Mike Leake, Mat Latos and Alfredo Simon this year. Only Johnny Cueto was better among the starters in that important statistic.

DeSclafani has a limited repertoire. He is basically a 2-pitch pitcher, utilizing his fastball almost 70% of the time. He uses a slider 25% of the time and throws a rare changeup on 5% of his pitches. Neither offspeed pitch grades well according to scouts. His fastball averages 93 mph but tends to stay up in the zone, which leads to a high fly ball rate – a dangerous factor in a home run friendly ballpark like Great American. That may work in the large ballpark and humid air of Miami but it won’t work here. His ground ball rate of 35% last year was one of the lowest in the league. Not only does that lead to home runs but also fails to take advantage of one of the few things the Reds are really good at – infield defense. The Reds had the best Defensive Efficiency Ratio in baseball last year and were ranked at or near the top of the league in every defense metric available. If a Reds pitcher is not going to strike out a ton of batters he really needs to keep the ball on the ground if he is going to succeed, and judging by his past that could be a real problem for DeSclafani. He is still young and learning his craft, so it is certainly possible that Bryan Price and Jeff Pico can work with him to adjust his repertoire to suit his new environment in Cincinnati.

Since DeSclafani is primarily a fastball-slider pitcher he really needs that breaking ball to be plus. Unfortunately his slider has not been very effective at generating swings and misses and is therefore not much of a strikeout pitch. He is going to need to develop an additional effective offspeed pitch if he is going to be a starting pitcher for the Reds, otherwise he will be limited to middle relief. He doesn’t have the strikeout rate required to be a set-up man or closer. He has a strong arm and excellent command and control, so there is plenty of potential here without question. Perhaps the Reds’ coaching cadre can help him complement his good velocity and control with an improved offspeed pitch to allow a breakthrough to the next level of performance. In my opinion he can fit the mold of a Jacob DeGrom, Collin McHugh, Matt Shoemaker or Dallas Keuchel – unheralded minor leaguers who reached the majors late and delivered much better results in the big leagues than they ever did in the minor leagues. But two things those guys have in common is a large and varied repertoire and keeping the ball on the ground. I think DeSclafani has the talent and mechanics to develop in that direction with the good coaching he is likely to get in Cincinnati but he may require some time in the minors first to make those changes.

DeSclafani was a top 10 prospect for the Marlins. His exact rank depends on who you ask. MLB.com had him ranked at #3 a week ago, behind only Andrew Heaney and Tyler Kolek (the 2nd overall pick of this year’s draft). Heaney was traded to the Dodgers, then the Angels one day before the Marlins traded DeSclafani to the Reds, so he was the #2 prospect for a few hours. MLB.com has slotted him in as the Reds #5 prospect behind Stephenson, Winker, Lorenzen and Howard. They also ranked him as the 2nd best prospect traded at the Winter Meetings, behind Heaney again.

Baseball Prospectus ranked DeSclafani as the Marlins #6 prospect. They said he has the potential to be a #4 starter but his realistic projection is a late-innings reliever (7th/8th inning). They say “DeSclafani’s mentality and fastball-slider combo likely slot him into a relief role over the long run, where his heater can play up a tick in short bursts and his aggressive approach fits with getting two or three concentrated outs before handing the ball over to someone else. There is a chance that the 24-year-old can tone things down a bit and get enough out of the changeup to hang as a starter on a second-division team for the early portion of his career.”

Baseball America released their Marlins prospect rankings on Friday, the day after the trade, so DeSclafani was not included. John Sickels at Minor League Ball has not released his Marlins rankings yet, and neither has FanGraphs. Prospect361.com ranked DeSclafani as the #8 Marlins prospect, although they see 4th starter upside and are confident he will remain a starter “if it all comes together”.

The other player the Reds received was catcher Chad Wallach (6’3” 210 lbs, recently turned 23). He is the third son of former Expos’ star Tim Wallach to play in the minor leagues. Chad was a 5th round pick in the 2013 draft out of Cal State Fullerton. He was not considered one of the Marlins’ best prospects, not having been ranked on any of the top prospect lists I have seen. He is a bat-first catcher whose defensive chops are questionable. Wallach played poorly in 2013 after being drafted, but this year at the age of 22 he had a breakout season where he put up .322/.431/.457 mostly in Low A ball with a brief spell in High A. He hit only 7 home runs in 408 plate appearances. But Wallach struck out only 46 times and walked 62 times. Right now he projects as a Ryan Hanigan type of high on-base percentage hitter but without the excellent defense. He is pretty much the opposite of Tucker Barnhart, who is an excellent defensive catcher with a poor stick. Wallach will be interesting to watch to see if he can gain more experience and skill with the tools of ignorance. If he can stick behind the plate he has a chance to be a useful backup catcher who can also provide solid value as a quality pinch hitter, something the Reds have had precious few of in recent years.

In addition to the two prospects the Reds also avoided having to pay Mat Latos in 2015. That is a major part of the trade calculus because Latos was likely to earn about $8.5 million through the salary arbitration process. Considering that Latos is coming off a down year, a 2-mph loss in velocity and multiple surgeries it would have been risky for the Reds to devote a large chunk of precious mid-market cash to a player who could spend a lot of time on the shelf in 2015. If the Reds decide to pocket that savings this winter it would be a tremendous disappointment. The Reds could put that money toward paying a new left fielder, or they could use it to subsidize a contract extension for Johnny Cueto or Mike Leake.

While the trade did not bring in an exciting new player it did have some positive effects. It cleared some payroll space that can be used to improve the team via future transactions. It brought in a young pitcher who is likely going to be a part of the Reds 2015 staff. It remains to be seen how good DeSclafani will be and if he will be a starter or a reliever but the potential is there for him to provide more value to the Reds in 2015 than Mat Latos will provide to the Marlins. DeSclafani will be under Reds’ control for up to 6 years at a low salary for the first 3, whereas the Marlins only have Latos for a single season and will have to pay him $8.5 million. The Reds also get a potentially useful minor league catcher as a bonus. All things considered the trade was positive for the team, but only if the cash they saved is put to use to improving the team.

71 Responses

  1. JohnU

    I think we are going to be convinced that DeSclafani is a good pitcher whether he is or not.

    • RM

      The only way this is a good trade is if Latos has lost his fastball, otherwise it is terrible. Are we headed towards last place? At this moment we are!

  2. gusnwally

    WOW, someone who is not ready to jump off a bridge. Being willing to see how things will shake out is not a very popular way of thinking at RN. Let’s hope some of the saved money brings a decent LF’er. If it does not then I will be extremely disappointed also.

  3. Kyle Farmer

    One of the main reasons I favored trading Cueto over Latos is the fact that due to his injuries last season, the club was selling extremely low on Latos. One of the things I’ve learned on this site is that is almost always a bad idea. Now, if Latos’s elbow has turned to mush, then it was a great trade. I guess we’ll find out together.

    • George Mirones

      Kyle; In the world of reality, the Latos trade isn’t all that bad because, as you said,
      if his elbow is a mess The Reds would be looking at a bag of balls and a rosin bag in return and that would the most available.:)

      • JohnU

        At what point are the Reds off the hook for dealing damaged goods? I don’t know the protocol on that but the notion is, I always believed, that if you pawn off a hurt player and they learn about it, your ticket to hell is punched. Then again, the Garry Majewski trade rings here a little. If Latos is hurt and the Fish knew it, that’s their problem, right?

      • George Mirones

        I remember that trade and the Reds keep reminding all of us that trades for relievers isn’t the managements strong suit. The two recent left handers, Marshall and one other, that slips my mind,The left hander we got with Majewski.

      • ToddAlmighty

        George, there was also that signing of the closer who “was not” hurt when they signed him, but managed to never throw a ball for the Reds.

  4. The Next Janish

    Hard to call this trade a winner for 2015, future a maybe yes. If looking at a strictly WAR perspective, you lost 2-3 WAR, considering 1 WAR cost $7m and the salary offload was $8m. So the team on paper is 1-2 losses worse then last year, but who knows maybe WJ can parlay it into a lucky lotto ticket in the free agent dumpster dive.

    • JohnU

      I don’t evaluate WAR as much as maybe I should, but are we not wiser to compare Latos for 2015 with Latos of 2013? I mean, anybody who can pick up a baseball can equal Latos’s 2014 numbers.

      • Kyle Farmer

        What? That’s ridiculous. With the exception of the velocity numbers, Latos was borderline excellent when he pitched.

      • JohnU

        … when he pitched I think is the phrase you used, right?

      • Carl Sayre

        I am not sure excellent was a term I would have used. I thought his mental toughness as far as hitters was very impressive he just wouldn’t give in. His mental toughness when dealing with outside issues still was almost nonexistent. A borderline call go against him and he was toast for the rest of the inning at least. He also was maybe to fine with what he tried to do that is why he had 100 pitches and still be in the 5th inning. These are observations about 2014 I didn’t get to watch him much in 13 and I am an eye test type of guy. Trying to be to fine could have been a result of dwindling velocity.

      • Kyle Farmer

        And the phrase you used was that anybody who can pick up a baseball can equal Latos’s 2014 numbers. That is absurd. I can pick up a baseball. Guess what – I’m not equally Latos’s 2014 numbers.

  5. vegastypo

    If Mes stays behind the plate for the next several years, maybe the Wallach kid could join the left field brigade. He’s have to hit with more power, though.

    • JohnU

      I am in the group who tends to value catchers more than others do. Almost anybody can play left field. Not many guys can catch. If this transaction yields a decent catcher, it already is worth it. Recalling how nobody had put much value in Ryan Hanigan until the guy was given the job.

  6. sezwhom

    All conjecture on who got the best of the trade. However, looking at it from a CPA point of view, it was a good move by the Reds to move the potential salaries of both Simon and Latos. As for what we got in return, can’t really say I’m all that excited. Simon deal looks far better.

    • George Mirones

      That CPA point of view is what drives the Reds no matter what they say.

  7. Doug Gray

    To clarify part of this post, everything I’ve read and been told is that DeSclafani’s slider is an above-average pitch. Not sure where it comes from that it’s not. I’ve yet to see that.

    • Doug Gray

      Also worth noting that his GB rate in the minor leagues was much, much higher than in his limited MLB sample size. He was near 50% in the minor leagues in 2014.

      • MrRed

        Yeah, I was wondering about the basis of conclusions made in this article. While it is stated that he pitched in just 33 innings in MLB (a mix of starting and relief), I wonder if too much emphasis was placed by the author on those stats. It wasn’t clearl at all. And I’ve read similar scouting reports about an above average slider too. Although I’m not as high on DeSclafani’s prospects of competing for the starting rotation, I think he could be a very useful piece for the bullpen. Teach him to use a cutter and that would help his repertoir a lot.

    • Michael E

      Same here Doug. The few scouting reports I read, one even said the slider was “an out pitch”, and that usually means pretty darn good.

  8. Steve Schoenbaechler

    Was it good unto itself? It had a positive effect, but it didn’t cure what needs we have. But, as stated, it did provide us with some payroll relief to pursue others for our needs. As well as, a good pitching prospect and a minor league hitter, all for a pitcher who was ended the last 2 seasons due to injury? I can take it.

    It’s just what you look at it. We did give up a lot to get Latos; we didn’t get as much back. But, Latos had some injury concerns now as well, what he didn’t have then.

    Overall, I rank the entire Latos proceedings a 5 on a scale from 1-10. It can be higher depending on what we do with the savings.

    • redmountain

      One should also remember that Latos had injury concerns when he was traded for in the first place. Seems those concerns are real so it remains to be seen if he will be durable over multiple seasons. My question would be: who is a better choice in the bullpen, Partch or DeScalafini? Ondrusewk or DeScalafini? I will taae the prospect as a reliever or a spot starter.

      As far as Wallach goes, they could start to transition him to the OF, or leave him at catcher/1st baseman. He was a third baseman in college before they moved him. He had a lot of passed balls, which tells me he either doesnt have the reactions or he is still learning the position?

      • Nick Doran

        Good points. Wallach allows a lot of passed balls and only threw out 25% of runners attempting to steal. He is still raw in terms of experience. Hopefully he is able to improve enough to stay behind the plate or else he probably has no chance of reaching the majors. Not too many outfielders who can’t hit for power or deliver plus defense. Partch and Ondrusek were non-tendered, not sure if the Reds brought them back on minor league deals or not. I hope to goodness DeSclafani is better than them and I am certain he will be.

    • Michael E

      When obtaining Latos, he was cheaper, and cost-controlled for several seasons. Now he is NOT cheap (not terribly expensive either) and only ONE season of control. That is probably a bigger factor on his trade return being a bit lower, but seeing as what we traded originally has basically stunk up the place. I think we got MORE quality back than we gave up, but time will tell.

      Simon got back a slightly lesser pitcher and a better secondary player in Suarez (no stud though). I think those trades were just about even, value-wise, but only because we swindled the Tigers, not because we got hosed on Latos, to the contrary, we did as expected with Latos and great with Simon.

      • Steve Schoenbaechler

        As well as his injuries. Also, we opened up some payroll room to look at more FA’s for LF. Now, I will admit, if Walt doesn’t find a LF from now to the beginning of the regular season, then in the short term, the Latos trade wasn’t good. However, that still doesn’t mean it couldn’t end up being good. It will all depend upon how the prospects develop.

  9. al

    This idea that Mat Latos is done because of injuries is just silly, and seems like Reds fans just being desperate to find a reason to like trading one of your best players.

    Consider this: the Marlins were a better team than the Reds last year, and that was without Jose Fernandez. They also have a lot more young talent than the Reds, so will probably be better next year. And they picked up Dee Gordon and maybe Dan Haren to go along with Latos.

    So, does that seem like a team that would totally get the wool pulled over it’s eyes trading for a guy who’s career is over due to injuries? What makes it seem more likely that the Marlins got ripped off than the Reds? If anything, the Marlins front office seems to have been run much more effectively than ours the last few years.

    Mat Latos had averaged 200 inning per year for four years prior to last year, and he still made half a season of starts. In 2013 Cueto only pitched 60 innings, and then came back to finish second in the Cy Young voting. In Cueto’s first 6 full seasons in the bigs he put up 15.5 WAR (2.6 per season), and in Latos’s first 5 full seasons he put up 13.9 WAR (2.8 per season).

    Latos is also younger than Cueto was when he was injured, and he has a bigger frame that should be able to handle the stress of pitching better.

    Does this mean that Latos is destined to win the Cy Young next year? Of course not. But based on the trade partner and recent history, there is absolutely no reason to think that Latos will be anything but his normal self next year. Maybe the Marlins gave up slightly less because of injury risk, but the trade should be evaluated assuming that all of the players play up to their potential, because there is injury risk on all sides.

    What we gave up was a likely 3 win pitcher who was going to be making a very low salary for that production. What we got is a cheap rookie who may be a decent 5th starter or bullpen arm, in either case likely to put up around 1+ wins, and a catcher in low-A with no real prospect pedigree.

    • al

      I hope it’s clear that I’m not saying that the Reds blew the trade. I like the trade more for the Marlins value-wise, but I can see the argument that the Reds just weren’t going to win it all in 2015 no matter what, so trading Latos now makes sense. In 2016, it will probably be better for the Reds to have Desclafini than the draft pick they could have gotten for Latos, especially if he can stick in the rotation.

      I just think that saying that the trade was a good idea because Latos was never going to be the same doesn’t make sense.

    • Carl Sayre

      I am not sure what Latos having a bigger frame would to do with handling stress when the injury that was still being treated 2 weeks ago was an elbow injury. When it comes to the elbow joint I don’t see having a big frame helping.

    • Michael E

      Latos is not done, and no one is saying that Al. You need to separate from all-or-nothing thinking on the injury. While Latos is not done, he also is likely to be degraded in one way or another, maybe for the whole season and maybe the rest of his career. Could he still be a very good starting pitcher? Sure. Might he have to go “veteran saavy” with a lesser fastball, better movement and control? Seems like this is the case.

      We (most of us) believe he lost some mph on his fastball and most definitely his peripherals are declining, even BEFORE last years injury. K rate is down each season..walk rate up. Go to fangraphs and read that synopsis on a declining Latos.

      Also, no way does trading Latos and Simon mean were going to punt 2015. The rotation should still be well above average. We have Cueto, Bailey, Leake and about 8 different candidates for SP4 and the intermittent SP5 spots. We’ll be good and will cost less. I have no issues with the trades and think it will make us BETTER in 2015, basically given that our starting pitching shouldn’t be any worse (Simon was not going to repeat 2014 and Latos may be a 3.5 ERA pitcher or worse now), AND we should be able to get a decent LF, which I doubt we could do with Latos and Simon due to extra $14 million on the books in arb salaries.

      We should be BETTER after these trades, by a smidge, not worse. Look at the whole picture and remember how many quality candidates we have for the two rotation spots. We are NOT going to have to roll out a 5.00 ERA pitcher.

      • al

        I like the optimism, but I can’t agree that Cueto, Bailey, Leake, and prospects going to be a “well above average” rotation.

        Cueto was amazing last year, but the first time he broke 200 innings (217 in 2012) he followed it up with 60 innings in an injury riddled season. Last year he broke 200 innings again, this time with 243 innings. I think he’s a pretty good case to have some injury issues next year.

        Both Bailey and Leake were below average pitchers last year using ERA or XERA (see the post on SP rotation slot definitions https://redlegnation.com/2014/10/23/sp-rotation-slot-definitions/). Bailey has more upside and if he has a good year could be above average, but Leake pretty much is what he is, which is average. Bailey also ended the year on the DL, and has battled injuries and ineffectiveness most of his career.

        Then there are the contenders for the rotation. Right now I count Cingrani, Iglesias, DeSclafini, Corcino, and Holmberg. Fangraphs has these ERA projections for those guys, minus Iglesias:

        Cingrani: 3.75
        DeSclafini: 4.51
        Holmberg: 5.03
        Corcino: 5.29

        Only Cingrani would be average by those numbers, and Price is already hinting that Cingrani may be in the bullpen. Iglesias has been a reliever in Cuba, and basically is impossible to project as a major league starter.

        So I think it’s a pretty big stretch to say that the Reds are definitely going to have an above average rotation. I see a solid ace with some injury concerns, two guys in the #3 or #4 starter range, and several prospects with limited upside.

      • Michael E

        ERA projections for last year’s injured or those with almost no MLB experience always default upward to 5.00 ERAs…no surprise there. None of those guys listed would have anything close to that bad of ERAs. I be surprised if any of them were worse than 4.25 if they pitched all year.

        I put no faith in projections based on no previous stats or stats from an injured player. That said, yes, there is all sorts of risk built in to relying on young pitchers to fill out the back two rotation slots, BUT we have 7 or 8 solid candidates, and my thinking is at least two will pitch pretty well, meeting or exceeding expectations. None of these guys are Jimmy Haynes, they have solid track records, either in the majors, minors or college.

        Latos is far from a sure thing and wasn’t close to dominant in 2014. He really was lucky to have an ERA as low as he did, given all the base-runners allowed. While Marlins park is more pitcher friendly, I would not at all be shocked to see Latos have a higher ERA than the future 4th and 5th starters of the Reds.

        I wasn’t sold on Latos any more than I am on Iglesias, Stephenson, Cingrani, DeSclafani, Holmberg, Axerod, etc. That is why I have optimism, Latos was lucky in 2014, too many base-runners, and will probably have an ERA between 3.75 and 4.25 in 2015. I am not betting money on it, but I think it will shake out much differently than a few fans here think.

  10. Art Wayne Austin

    Latos didn’t get to prove himself with the Reds because we couldn’t get deep in the post season. Wallach is a possibility for duty at 1st base and LF in addition to catcher. Love his walk to strikeout ratio. It’s easy to see the Reds are tired of the air being knocked out of the ballpark with the numerous strikeouts of Bruce & Company.

  11. TC

    Some people who see this as a bad trade are looking at it from this perspective:

    Is DeSclafani and Wallach, plus 3 years of Latos = Volquez, Alonso, Grandal and Boxberger? I don’t believe this is a valid way of looking at a trade. Yes, if A=B and B=C, then A should equal C. (B being 3 years of Latos)

    But Latos depreciated while with the Reds. The value of Latos when they acquired him was the four years of cheap, team control to go with Cueto at the top of the rotation. Three years later, he’s not cheap and he has one year of team control. Not to mention he barely pitched last year.

    There is no way of knowing if this was a good trade until we see if either help the Reds in the future. If both bounce between AAA and the Reds until ultimately they are released, then it is a bad trade. If the Reds get a #3 or #4 pitcher for 6 years, then it was a good deal.

    • al

      I actually think this is a very good time to look back at the original Latos trade. You can only go so far with trades, and now that Latos has been moved again and only Alonso is still with the Padres, I think that original trade is pretty much over. I certainly don’t think you can ask “would you rather have Matt Kemp than Desclafini?”

      But for the original trade, I think you can just look at the value that each team got. I like to use $5mil per WAR, and then you just subtract the salary the player made to see the net value.

      Latos: 9 WAR*$5mil = $45mil – $12mil in salary = $33mil net value

      Volquez: 1 WAR*$5mil = $5mil – $13mil in salary = -$8mil net value
      Boxberger: 2 WAR*$5mil = $10mil – $1.5mil in salary = $8.5mil net value
      Grandal: .3 WAR*$5mil = $1.5mil – 2.3mil in salary = -$0.8mil net value
      Alonso: 4 WAR*$5mil = $20mil – $3mil in salary = $17mil net value

      So the Reds got a ton of value from Latos relative to his salary (+$33mil) and the 4 players they gave up only had a combined net value of +$16.7mil. That’s a bout as clear of a win as you can get in this type of trade.

      Alonso was the most valuable piece that we gave up, and Boxberger put up a solid year as a reliever last year, but Volquez was not worth the money he has been paid, and Grandal was largely ineffective when he was on the field, which wasn’t that often.

    • Shchi Cossack

      There is also the caveat of Latos’ health. I hope he can bounce back with a superlative season for the Fish, but I think the odds of Latos landing on the 60-day DL and facing surgery this season are better than 50/50. If that happens then the trade was a good one for the Reds, period.

      • Dale Pearl

        I think that you are correct in thiss analysis. Let us see how 2015 fares before we say this was a bad trade.

        The other thing to consider is what were our options. Do we Keep Latos and let him play out 2015 paying hims 8.5 for whatever he is able to give us. That would most certainly block the future potential of acquiring a Left Fielder. Do we keep Latos and resign him to a long term contract? Right or wrong the Reds choose Bailey over Latos to extend because Bailey came up due to expire first, and quite honestly at the time Bailey was the cheapest of Cueto,Latos, and Bailey. So considring either a trade, resign, or play until until we get a compensation pick we did the right thing. Apparently the Red Sox and Dodger felt that Latos was not worth the risk while there was healtier arms available on the market.

        We got the best deal possible considering the remainder on his contract and the health concerns. One of the consistent things that I read on redlegnation is the assumption that players return from significant injuries and produce equal or greather than prior to the injury. History shows that is rarely the case.

    • Michael E

      You can’t look at the original trade as a marker BECAUSE Latos was cheaper and under team control for 4 years. Now its just ONE season and more expensive. That is completely different, even ignoring his degraded state due to injuries. Why is this so hard for some on this board to get?

      Would you have traded 3 or 4 top 15 prospects for Matt Harvey last year before the injury? I would have. Lets say Harvey stayed healthy and in a couple of years, with one year left on his deal, would you still trade 3 or 4 top prospects, with just one season under contract AND Harvey will cost you $14 million in ARB salary? Uh, NO WAY would you trade 3 or 4 top 15 prospects.

      Easy to see, just imagine us trading for Latos NOW. Would you trade 3 or 4 top 15 prospects, like we did 3 years ago for today’s Latos? NO WAY.

      • Michael E

        If you would trade 3 or 4 top 15 prospects for today’s Latos, one year of control and about $9 million in salary, with some injury risk, you would be FIRED tomorrow.

    • Michael E

      “…, and the roster didn’t actually lose much of anything.”

      BINGO! Latos was solid, above average, but its not like we now have to roll out a batting practice pitcher or Jimmy Haynes. We have lots of SP talent waiting in the wings. Latos will be replaced and we won’t lose much, same with Simon…and we saved some $$$ doing it. Losing Cueto would be the ONLY dire move to 2015 and even so I’d be okay with trading Cueto, passing on 2015 if it meant a couple of stud prospects.

      Right now, we’re fine for 2015. The key is not the rotation, it will be above average, if not top 8 in MLB, but the recovery of Votto, Bruce and Bailey (so far so good).

  12. unc reds fan

    I think the biggest problem here is that we assumed that the reds were one awesome player away from greatness…they weren’t…so far they are trading the one thing they had abundance of (pitching) and setting themselves up better to bring in the one thing they are still lacking (hitting, though the simon trade did net an upgrade at SS). Simon and Latos were both preventing other players from advancing (Stephenson, maybe even a potential Chapman to the rotation) while bringing in a little hitting and help in our other weak area relief pitching…did either or these trades make us a contender? No but standing pat wasn’t making us one either.

    • JohnU

      Most teams would like to think they are one awesome player away … but not very many teams have a second line that’s good enough to win the International League’s Eastern Division wild-card berth.

    • Michael E

      We may very well be BETTER now than before the Latos and Simon trade, and I am speaking about 2015, not 2017. See my earlier post above. These trades do not keep us from contending in 2015, not by a long shot.

  13. Carl Sayre

    This goes back to the same answer. What will they do with the savings, if it was just a cost cutting move then no this dog won’t hunt. take that savings and parlay it into LF and maybe consistent middle relief help. Getting rid of Ludwick and Ondrusek and to a lesser degree Santiago and Hannahan. Then the salary saved with what Latos and Simon would have gotten in arbitration, oh and a little with trading Heisey. The same payroll as last year should leave a nice chunk of change to get the left fielder we have needed for a couple of years and a veteran stick for the bench.

    • JohnU

      Does anybody have a sense for a guy the Twins DFA today — Chris Parmelee?

    • Steve Schoenbaechler

      There’s more than just getting the LF’er. There’s still the boatload of arbitrations to go through, as well as any extensions to consider for players like Devin, Todd, Cueto, Leake, Chapman, etc.

      • George Mirones

        Steve;
        I do tend to agree with that (arbitrations). I think once the Reds get through these upcoming cost issues , only then will Walt look for a LF’r. All of Walt’s previous statements have used words like “Tinker”, “minor adjustments”, “tweaked line up” which these trades represent. He traded Simon (a one time event) and Latos ( consistently inconsistent for whatever reason) based on what he saw at the end of last season. My thoughts are that LF may remain a void offensively because he is thinking that a healthy Bruce, Votto, Phillps and improved Mes and Frazier will make up for what LF doesn’t produce. If Winkler has a solid 70 or so games in the minors, we will see him ready or not. Think Bruce, Bailey, and Hamilton, they weren’t really ready. So on 7/1/15 we will know, if Reds are in top 2 spots maybe a trade but if the Reds are 4th or 5th, Cueto, Chapman and anybody else who makes more than minimum major league wage, will be on the table. The worse thing that could happen is the Reds are close 5 or 6 games out. Then nothing will happen.

    • Michael E

      The BIGGEST factor for 2015 is not any of that, but how the injury bug shakes out. If Votto, Bruce and Bailey are reasonably healthy and producing expected stats (not exceeding, just what we might expect from healthy versions), will be knocking on 90+ wins door. We STILL have an above-average rotation as we lost an SP3 (Latos with some injury degradation) and SP4.5 in Simon. We have our two best SPs, Cueto and Bailey (yes, I went there), innings eating Leake (and good SP) and a plethora of very good candidates for SP 4 and SP 5 spots.

      I think we might very well be BETTER team and even a chance at a BETTER rotation without Latos and Simon. We might be worse, but I wouldn’t bet ANY money on either guess right now. Would you feel great about having a declining (still solid) Latos in a trade, or a career-year Simon heading to the AL? I wouldn’t as Marlins and Tigers fans. I’d feel like, hmm, couldn’t we have done a LITTLE better?

  14. charlottencredsfan

    Way to early to say with the Red blew the Latos trade. For now, I like what I see of the package we received under the circumstances. Someone had to go to get the payroll in line.

    As far as Alfredo & Mat goes, I appreciate the really fine efforts and results they gave to the club while they were here and it would have been great to keep them but that’s baseball. I think both have a lot of good innings left in them and have not a word to say bad about either. Good luck to both.

  15. droomac

    It is obviously impossible to answer the question. My first reaction is that this was a sell low move. I look at Latos and see a big guy who has demonstrated that he can pitch with a reduced velocity and will return to dominance if the velocity returns. There are three things that are impossible to know at this point that, if true, make this a good trade in my mind.

    1. Do the team’s medical personnel believe Latos is damaged goods and that his velocity will not return? . . . If so, then this was a good trade.

    2. Was there no way to get maximum return out of Johnny Cueto? . . . If teams weren’t willing to give up the goods to get Cueto, then a sell low on Latos was the right move (since the team had to clear payroll).

    3. Were the Simon and Latos trades the only trades the Reds will make this winter? If so, then the Latos trade looks a bit more questionable. If not, then there is a good chance that this will be remembered as a good trade.

    • Nick Doran

      I agree on all points. #1 is the key. The Reds are not a poor team, they can afford to pay players good salaries if they perform well on the field. The thing that kills a budget-conscious team like the Reds is having to pay a lot of money to players who are not producing on the field. I think Jocketty felt the team just couldn’t take the risk that Latos would be unable to pitch a full season and the Reds would be stuck giving him a nice bite of the payroll without getting anything in return. I too wonder whether the Reds know that he is injured more severely than they told the fans.

      • JohnU

        I posited this question earlier about liability. If he’s damaged goods and the Fish being told otherwise, who’s responsible for asking? There is good faith and as well, buyer beware. But buyer beware isn’t going to fly in MLB.

      • Michael E

        John, the key is he might pass a physical (relieving the Reds of any legal or good faith obligations), but the injuries could re-occur or have weakened or altered Latos just enough he experiences more injuries. As was noted, Madson was healthy enough to pitch when the Reds got him, then he blew out his arm. I think Latos is healthy enough and the Marlins KNOW he is declining skill wise (look at the stats the past couple of seasons…easy to see). There really isn’t much concern here, unless a team physical turns up a detached ligament or tendon or something (doesn’t seem likely or we’d know it by now).

  16. Redsman

    I don’t think this is going down as a good trade. In fact, I think Latos is far more likely to rebound and help the Marlins improve than DeSclafani helps the Reds. This year, next or any other year for that matter. Furthermore, the statement about DeSclafani that, “he can fit the mold of a Jacob DeGrom, Collin McHugh, Matt Shoemaker…” is really out there, like say only happening in Bizzaro world! I mean these guys pitched the whole season in the bigs and excelled. DeGrom was ROY and this years Matt Harvey, minus the injury. Mentioning DeSclafani in the same breath as them??? C’mon!

    I’ll believe this is a good trade if and when the Reds actually spend the found money on a legitimate LF’er and 1 or 2 of the relievers available in free agency or thru trade. But do I think this will really happen? Uh uhh. What I really think is that Bob didn’t make as much profit last year as had been expected and determined to reduce salary in order to ensure a better return this summer. Never mind they never went ‘all in’ acquiring another bat at the deadline. It became the fans fault for not supporting the team as they slowly circled the drain, selling off Broxton for virtually nothing. And now Latos….what a crock.

    • jessecuster44

      Just get a good LF bat. It’s not rocket science.

    • JohnU

      I think the hype on these guys is fairly consistent with all teams and their company line. It’s no different from when they fire a coach or a manager by saying ‘we think it’s time we went in a different direction,’ instead of saying ‘the guy was awful.’
      Most fans do not analyze trades. The vast majority of them have zero idea about metrics, and trends and cost controls and the like. We get a new guy and we’re better, most fans think.
      The vast majority of prospects never get to the Show.

    • Nick Doran

      My comment about DeGrom and McHugh etc was not meant to imply that DeSclafani is as good as them, only that he could be some day. He is similar to them in that he reached the majors in his mid-twenties and was never a top tier prospect yet still has good control and good velocity. It is possible that he can learn a new pitch like they did and take a step up to a higher level of performance. It is unlikely to happen, but I meant it as an example of why we should not assume that his development is already complete just because he is 25 years old.

    • Michael E

      Latos almost has to rebound a bit, in a nice pitchers park (take any improvement with a grain of salt, he won’t be in GABP any more), but I think the Reds won this trade. Obviously it keys on DeSclafani’s results the next 6 years, but even if he is just okay, Latos wouldn’t even be with the team in 2016 and he’d cost us about $9 million in 2015. We should be able to replace Latos without losing much, if anything, given our deep pool of SP candidates. Latos was not and will not be anything close to an ace, though you’d think that by some comments on here that he should have fetched a stud prospect, even with just one year of moderately expensive control and small/moderate injury concern.

  17. Dale Pearl

    Mat is 27 and throws hard….. The bad news is he is a bit chunky and has already gone under the knife for both elbow and knee. Lord knows we don’t need another signed contract to someone with knee issues, not to mention the high risk factor on his elbow moving forward.

    • Michael E

      AND he is only under team control for one season at about $9 million. Far different outlook on him than when we got him 3 years ago, cheap, good, and getting better quick…then…not so much now.

      • Dale Pearl

        all very true. I think some fans just felt like he was a savior to the team, just like Votto. The Reds should never again sign a player for more than 5 or 6 years. Latos and the Reds know from 3 years ago that Mat was going to be trade in the offseason of 2014. Just like Frazier will be traded once he is out of arbitration years, and the same with Mesoraco so the fans better get over it now instead of pouting about it in a few years.

      • charlottencredsfan

        If you make it about the success of the team not the individuals, you will be much. much happier in general and typically have far better insight than those that do not. Really have appreciated the efforts of Joey, Homer & BP but none of these guys should be Reds. “A lot” folks do not acknowledge how this has tied the hands of the franchise. but they like to complain. “where’s Walt?”.

  18. George Mirones

    Charlotte; The efforts of those players is appreciated by the fans but to assign them responsibility of still being here because of their contracts is ignoring the basic fact that management did not have a gun at their collective heads when they offered those contracts. Management has tied its own hands. Would you have turned down a 12-15 year guaranteed contract when you were 25. Ruben Amaro (Phillies) is still thinking that his 30+ year old players are the future. Senior Baseball management and ownership causes most of the games problems. Too bad there aren’t any metrics for grading ownership then Mancuso would feel better when he criticizes management.:)

    • charlottencredsfan

      Sorry if I wasn’t clear: I would never blame “anyone” for bettering themselves, monetarily or otherwise. As far as these three (Votto, Homer & BP), I think it is on Bob C. Do I have any proof? No but it is very hard for me to conclude otherwise.

      • Dale Pearl

        You have proof…. Bob C signs the paychecks. If he didn’t want to fork out the money he certainly doesn’t have to. I recall the days when I was a manager and actually held a job. I always had more than one person around to advise me. Sure Bob has quite a few advisors around to give him second, third, and fourth opinions. I do not think that there is an owner in all of baseball that listens exclusively to the voice of the GM. I think that he allows the GM to run the minor details without having to get up out of bed. But when it comes to signing away massive contracts it is absolutely Bob pulling the strings probably against the advice of more than one person.

      • George Mirones

        There is also the fact that the Reds ownership group changed when the when the Nippert trust sold its part;
        “Frank Cohen, senior managing director of Blackstone’s real estate group, bought a minority interest in the team previously held by the Louise Dieterle Nippert Trust. The team said in a Tuesday news release that it approved approved the sale Friday. A source with knowledge of the deal told The Enquirer Cohen acquired a less than 5 percent stake in the team.” (10/8/14 Inquirer)

        There is a new voice in the office and Bob C. may be hearing some concerns over cost versus revenue. .
        When you research “Blackstone” you may start to understand why cost is an issue.

        Next news release may say that Blackstone has acquired another piece of the Reds (buy out another minority owner) and then Bob C. may have to listen a bit closer.

        Just saying,