In explosive news from San Diego, the Padres have shipped off 24-year old starting pitcher Mat Latos to the Reds for Edinson Volquez, 25-year old first baseman Yonder Alonso, catcher Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger. The move comes just days after Josh Byrnes was quoted as saying the team was not shopping Latos.
Volquez, 28, has had his ups and downs. He has shown signs of greatness early on, but spent some time in the minors last season. He has a career 4.65 ERA, but all bets are that number will improve in San Diego. He will provide a veteran arm to compensate for the loss of Latos
Alonso has had limited time with the big league club, but in his time (127 plate appearances) he has managed a .299/.354/.479 line. These are clearly respectable numbers and when compared with Anthony Rizzo‘s .141/.281/.242 line in slightly more plate appearances, it’s not surprising the Padres made the deal. However, with the amount of players currently slotted for first base, I would expect another move soon. That move may be a trade involving Rizzo.
Grandal, a 23-year old catcher from Cuba, has not yet cracked a Major League roster, but he has put up impressive numbers in the minor league system including a triple-slash of .301/.401/.488. Again, he plays a position in which the Padres have multiple players available. Nick Hundley has drawn attention in the past and the Padres may be considering a move down the line involving him or David Baker whom they just aquired this off-season. It looks as if the club will keep Grandal in the minor league system to allow him some more developmental time and to allow the Padres more time to make a decision on the log jam at catcher.
Boxberger is a 23-year old pitcher steadily gotten better in the minors. His career line through 91 games is 7-14 with a 3.75 ERA. Last season, he found himself in a closer role, saving a total of 11 games.
Latos was clearly the Padres ace heading into 2012, so the move may be tough to stomach short-term, but a return including three highly touted prospects 25 years old or younger is something that may help the team long-term. We will have more analysis to come, but the news is now confirmed. Mat Latos is no longer a Padre.