Number four: Mat Latos
This winter’s surprise signing by the White Sox came this week in the form of a right handed starting pitcher (a rarity on this team). Latos, who split last year between three clubs (Miami Marlins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) was scooped up on a one year deal. As previously mentioned, some in the industry think this deal could be the best signing of the winter in terms of bang-for-your-buck moves. Latos, who made a name for himself in San Diego, has yet to pitch in the American League, with the exception of a few appearances with the Angels last season, which means he may be in for a bit of a regression this season, but he is still an upgrade over what the fourth starter would have been had the season started February 1st. Latos, who is not a darling in the clubhouse either, will be an ultimate boom-or-bust move. He made waves while with Miami by criticizing the Cincinnati Reds,with whom he pitched for three years (and was teammates with Frazier) by claiming they did not have leadership in the clubhouse or how to treat his knee injury, among other issues. Even with some baggage, he can pitch. Last year was the first time his ERA was on the wrong side of 4.00 since his rookie campaign, when he pitched in only 50.2 innings back in 2009. Still, the White Sox have done well with “troubled” players, namely a couple of fellows in 2005, A.J. Pierzynski and Bobby Jenks and Latos will have almost zero pressure on him this year other than proving last years struggles were a fluke. There is no reason to expect the 6’6″ right-hander to pitch like he did in San Diego and Cincinnati before his injuries, but he is a strong bounce-back candidate if his knee is healthy.
2016 predictions: 9-13, 4.06 ERA, 149 Ks, one argument with Lawrie over who has better arm sleeve tattoos.