Padres Receive: Edinson Volquez, Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger
Reds receive: Mat Latos
Reds Haul – The Reds got the most productive player in the deal in Latos. A legitimate rising star, Latos went 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 189 Ks as a 22 year old in 2010. Last year the record was reversed, he went 9-14, while his ERA (3.47), and WHIP (1.18) went up. He also struck out four fewer batters in 9.2 more innings, but that’s a wash.
For the past two years Latos has been one of the better right-handed pitchers in the NL. He’s also very young which means he’s a nice addition for a team in Cincinnati that needs cost certainty with their players. As for what to expect from Latos, there are some issues to keep an eye on. With only two seasons of data to rely on I’m admittedly guessing a bit here, but I don’t like to see his K/9 rate and ground ball rate go down while his BB/9 rate and line drive rate went up in his second full season. I also don’t like the fact that he’s leaving one of the best pitchers park’s in baseball for a yard that clearly favors the hitter. This is especially concerning given that his 1.03 GB/FB rate for his career is league average. Since Great America ballpark is the most homer happy park in the NL according to Park Indices, he might have a hard time keep that ERA in the low 3′s.
Padres Haul – Where to begin.
Volquez is a mess. Oh he owns a solid arm he did go 17-6 with a 3.21 ERA and 206 Ks in 2008, but the last few years he has struggled to throw strikes (the last three years his BB/9 mark has been above 5.00). Until he does a better job of location his pitches, it’s going to be very difficult to count on him as anything more than a 5th starter. Still, he moves to Petco which should rectify his homer woes, and when you factor in that he has posted an impressive 1.75 GB/FB ratio over his last 171.1 innings, you can see there is a chance that he could post some top-shelf pitching totals with half the Padres games at Petco.
Alonso hit .330 with a .943 OPS in 88 at-bats last season and he projects as a solid bat at first base (he’s been tried as on outfielder, but he really doesn’t have the athleticism for it). Alonso has also hit .296 with a .842 OPS in 192 games at Triple-A seemingly proving that his time is now. The addition by the Padres is a bit odd though given that they already have Anthony Rizzo as their first baseman of the future. Maybe they work out a way for the duo to play together – possibly Alonso in that outfield role – but the winds are suggesting that the Pads might deal Rizzo this offseason.
Grandal is a switch hitter who is close to being ready for the bigs (his addition likely ends the future with the Padres for Nick Hundley). Grandal hit .303 with 14 homers, 69 RBI and a .401 OBP as he flew through three minor league levels last season. His time will come, likely in 2013.
Boxberger is the least exciting name in the group, though it’s not like he doesn’t have a big arm. After all, he’s struck out 11.9 batters per nine innings in his 153.2 innings as a big league hurler. He worked as a starter in 2010, but last year he was moved to the bullpen.
Winner – Come on now, it’s not even close. I have no idea what the Reds were doing in this deal. They dealt away Volquez, who already has a season on his record that is equivalent to what Latos has posted the last two years. They dealt away Alonso, a bat that many predict could hit .300 with 20 homers year after year. They dealt away a catching prospect in Grandal who was the 12th overall selection in the 2010 MLB Entry Draft. We’ve heard the Reds say, ‘but we have Joey Votto at first base and Devin Mesoraco is an even better option at catcher than Grandal,’ but even so, you don’t just give up talent because you have depth. Maybe this deal will result in the Reds winning their division in 2012, but moving forward this has the ring of the type of deal that the Giants made years ago when they sent Francisco Liriano and Joe Nathan to the Twins for A.J. Pierzynski.
By Ray Flowers