Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Welcome to the Blue, Mat Latos & Michael Morse! - With UPDATES!

Impatient Dodger fans finally have a trade to vex over.  Rumors swirled all morning about a pending trade with the Marlins that adds a mid-rotation starter and a journeyman outfielder/first baseman for a handful of low level prospects.  As originally announced via twitter by Chicago Sun-Times Cubs reporter Gordon Wittenmyer:

This ain't a bad start, and I suspect (as has been rumored recently) that the Dodgers are not yet done.  They are said to still be interested in adding a top-line starter to the rotation, so a pitcher like Hamels or Price coming to LA might still be in the picture. 

As for this trade, Mat Latos provides a middle of the rotation arm for the stretch run.  Over the past couple of years he has dealt with numerous injuries; including a bone spur in his elbow and a tore cartilage in his left knee.  He is said to be 100% healthy now.  BTW, he will be a free agent at the end of this season, and is unlikely to be anything more than a rental player for the Dodgers.  Via Jeff Todd at MLB Trade Rumors:
While he’s battled injuries and struggled early in the season, Latos has increased his velocity and upped his results since returning from a DL stint. All told, the 27-year-old Latos owns a 4.48 ERA with 8.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 over 88 1/3 innings on the year. But ERA estimators view him more as a mid-3.00 ERA contributor, and that has shown up in his last seven starts, over which he’s allowed 15 earned runs in 45 2/3 frames with a 43:9 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
On a side note, Mat Latos has a cat named "Cat Latos."  I kid you not!

The addition of Morse is a bit puzzling.  He's an first baseman and outfielder, and goodness knows we've got plenty of that on the team already.  Not too long ago he was a fantastic slugger with the Nationals, but has struggled since leaving Washington due to injuries.  Morse had rebounded when he played for the Giants last year, but regressed in Miami this season.  His addition make me wonder if it sets a foundation for a trade that sends a Dodger outfielder out of town (or maybe he was the price for Latos without giving up a some good prospects).  On the other hand, maybe Morse's exploits with the Giants in last years World Series earns him a spot on the roster as a pinch-hitter.  I dunno.  What I do know is that he is in the first year of a two-year contract he signed with the Marlins over this past winter, and it appears the Dodgers will be on the hook for the remaining contract.  (See Update Below)

In celebration of Latos and Morse's arrival to the Dodgers I made the above fantasy cards for them.  I used a photo taken by Denis Bancroft/Marlins for Latos and a Miami Herald photo for Morse. The Cat Latos card used a photo grabbed from Deadspin.

Below are Latos' career stats, via Baseball-Reference:

Below are Morse's career stats, via Baseball-Reference:

UDPATE:  It appears that Michael Morse isn't coming to the Dodgers.  Rumors are swirling that another team (a third team) is in the mix, and Morse is expected to go there.  Per Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs, "Marlins Flip Mat Latos to Dodgers for -1 Prospect."
Don’t be thrown by the presence of Morse. While nothing’s impossible, he’s unlikely to ever suit up. His addition doesn’t have 25-man roster implications, as he’s probably going to be dumped right away. He’s in here because he’s a little expensive, through next season, and the Marlins hate signing paychecks. He’s this trade’s equivalent of Carlos Quentin in the Craig Kimbrel trade from April. Quentin was accepted by the Braves and immediately designated for assignment. Morse will probably land somewhere in the American League, or with the Phillies.
UPDATE II:  Uh-Oh!  This deal appears to be far from done.  Via a tweet from Miami Herald reporter Clark Spencer:

What a mess.  I wonder what's holding things up.

UPDATE III:  The potential third team in the trade has been identified as the Braves, via a tweet by Ken Rosenthal:
Regardless, the original Marlins-Dodger trade will happen anyway, via a tweet by Jon Heyman:
UPDATE IV: WHAT IS GOING ON!!!  Word is now spreading that HEctor Olivera is going to the BRaves and the Dodgers might be getting a package of Alex Wood (starter), Jim Johnson (reliever) and Jose Peaza (2nd base prospect). Wha???!!!  Via a tweet from MLB Trade Rumors:
UDPATE V:  Here's the official press release for the Marlins part of the trade:
 The Los Angeles Dodgers today acquired right-handed pitcher Mat Latos, infielder/outfielder Michael Morse and cash considerations from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league right-handed pitchers Victor Araujo, Jeff Brigham and Kevin Guzman.

Latos, 27, has a 64-52 career record with a 3.43 ERA in 169 starts with the Padres (2009-2011), Reds, (2012-14) and Marlins (2015). During the course of his career, Latos has limited opponents to a .235 batting average and posted a 1.17 WHIP, while striking out more than three times as many as he’s walked with 938 Ks against only 308 walks in 1040.1 innings. Since making his big league debut with San Diego in 2009, Latos has posted a 2.67 ERA (92 ER/310.0) in 48 starts against NL West opponents, pitching well in every ballpark in the division: Dodger Stadium (3.34 ERA), AT&T Park (1.62 ERA), Chase Field (1.33 ERA), Coors Field (3.49 ERA) and PETCO Park (2.98 ERA). He was originally selected by the Padres in the 11th round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft out of Broward (FL) Community College.

This year, the 6-foot-6, 245-pound Latos has gone 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts with the Marlins, but regained his form with a 2.96 ERA (15 ER/45.2 IP) and a .198 opponents’ batting average in seven starts since returning from the disabled list on June 13 (left knee inflammation). In six starts against NL West opponents this season, Latos has a 3-1 record with a 3.05 ERA (13 ER/38.1 IP) and a 1.02 WHIP.

Morse, 33, has a .276 career batting average with 103 home runs and 345 RBI in 757 games over 11 big league seasons with the Mariners (2005-08, 2013), Nationals (2009-12), Orioles (2013), Giants (2014) and Marlins (2015). During the course of his career, Morse has played outfield (409 games, 385 starts), first base (209 G, 174 GS), shortstop (57 G, 50 GS) and third base (9 G, 2 GS) and, in 82 career pinch-hit appearances, he has hit .282 (20-for-71) with a home run and 16 RBI. He played a key role in the Giants’ 2014 World Series championship run and has a .282 batting average with two homers and seven RBI in 15 career postseason games. Morse was originally selected by the White Sox in the third round of the 2000 First-Year Player Draft out of Nova High School in Davie, FL.

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