Sep 7, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mat Latos (55) throws a pitch against the New York Mets in the first inning at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Pitchers I’m a big fan of who could possibly be on the market, and who I feel would be a good acquisition for the Chicago White Sox would be Mat Latos or Mike Leake, two right-handed pitchers with the Cincinnati Reds.
Latos does have some past injury issues, including the 2014 season, but when healthy he can be a very solid No. 2 pitcher behind ace left hander Chris Sale in the White Sox rotation.
Latos is currently the No. 2 pitcher in the Reds’ rotation, and it is no secret Cincinnati is looking to trade one of their starting pitchers to improve other spots on their roster.
Sep 20, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake (44) throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the first inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The Reds need middle of the order help and upgrades at shortstop and even left field, so would the White Sox be able to help the Reds fill their offseason needs, while fulfilling their own need with a right-handed starting pitcher?
Looking at Latos, who is 6-6, 245 pounds, last season he was just 5-5 in 16 starts with a 3.25 ERA as he battled various injuries. Before this past season, from 2010-13 with the Reds and San Diego Padres, he made no fewer than 31 starts in a season.
Maybe last season it was just “one of those seasons” for Latos, who pitched 102.1 innings in ’14, finishing with 74 strikeouts. From ’10-14, Latos had seasons of 189, 185, 185 and 187 strikeouts.
I’m going to go on a limb and say last season was just a season decided by injury, and not what Latos is as an MLB pitcher.
Even with his struggles last year, Latos’ WAR was 0.9, and in his other seasons with the Reds in ’12-13, his WARs were 4.3 and 3.8.
Leake has pitched five seasons in the majors, making his debut in 2010. In ’14, Leake was 11-13 with a 3.70 ERA in 33 starts. He pitched 214.1 innings and finished with a WHIP of 1.246.
The 27-year old Leake also had a WAR of 1.5 last season, and in .13 his WAR was 3.0 in a season where he was 14-7 with a 3.37 ERA.
One problem with both of these players is both Latos and Leake are eligible to become free agents in 2016, so if a trade were to happen, I’m assuming the White Sox would wnt to sign the player to a contract extension as well.
One player the Reds would probably want in a trade with the White Sox would be Tim Anderson, or Micah Johnson, because even though Alexei Ramirez would make more sense for the Reds, there is no way I can see them taking on the contract of the current White Sox shortstop.
Anderson is a tricky trade because he is the future shortstop of the White Sox, as he’s listed as the No. 2 prospect of the White Sox. Johnson is the No. 4 White Sox prospect and is listed at second base.
The White Sox also have second baseman/shortstop Carlos Sanchez as another possibility in a trade to a team that has strong right-handed starting pitching.
Basically, I’m saying the White Sox will have to give up something to get a solid and productive RHP in return. There is no doubt in my mind at least one of those players would be involved in any trade the White Sox would make to gain the RHP starter they are looking for in a trade.
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Another potential trade piece could be Marcus Semien, though he wouldn’t bring the value the previous three players would.
The problem is I don’t know who I would trade out of those players. If you had to include one of them in a trade, who would you rather the White Sox part with and why?
What I do know is the White Sox must either sign a free agent RHP or trade for one, because right now what they currently have in their starting rotation in terms of right-handed pitching just won’t cut it next season, and Leake or Latos would fill that need for the White Sox next season.
What do you want the White Sox to do during the Winter Meetings and why?