UPDATE: The Reds just announced that they have acquired Latos from the Padres for first baseman Yonder Alonso, right-handers Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger and catching prospect Yasmani Grandal. Wow. This one is looking a lot better for San Diego.
1:12 PM: Well, the Reds have landed the top-flight starter they’ve been looking for all offseason.
Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Reds have acquired right-hander Mat Latos from the Padres. Yonder Alonso is among the players being sent to San Diego.
Latos has a 3.37 ERA over his first 72 starts in the majors, averaging 8.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. The 24-year-old began this season on the disabled list with a shoulder strain, but ended up posting a 3.47 ERA and 185/62 K/BB ratio over 194 1/3 innings. He is arbitration-eligible for the first time next winter and under team control though 2015. His home/road splits aren’t all that different, so he should do fine with the move to Great American Ballpark.
Alonso is well regarded for his bat, but was blocked at first base in Cincinnati by Joey Votto. He could probably step in as the starting first baseman with the Padres right away, though one wonders what will happen with Anthony Rizzo, who was acquired from the Red Sox in last winter’s Adrian Gonzalez deal. Perhaps new GM Josh Byrnes has another deal on the way.
Like most of you, I’m eager to see who else the Padres got here. Latos was their most valuable chip, so I’m underwhelmed at the moment.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.
In light of the Astros’ deal for veteran designated hitter Carlos Beltran on Saturday, the Yankees are thought to be intensifying their pursuit of free agent Edwin Encarnacion, reports Jon Morosi of FOX Sports. The Yankees never made an official offer to Beltran, but remain in need of a DH/first baseman to give them a little more power outside of a Tyler Austin–Greg Bird combo in 2017.
The Red Sox, on the other hand, are reportedly withdrawing their interest when it comes to the Encarnacion sweepstakes. According to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, they will look for a hitter to beef up their lineup without taking a “big plunge” on the 34-year-old.
Encarnacion enjoyed another All-Star run with the Blue Jays in 2016, hitting at a .263/.357/.529 clip with 42 homers and a league-leading 127 RBI in 702 PA. He’s expected to command a significant contract in free agency, and agent Paul Kinzer said that a potential deal is unlikely to be finalized before the Winter Meetings as Encarnacion is not close to agreeing to any offer. Interested teams include the Blue Jays and the Astros, though Beltran’s signing appears to have effectively taken Houston out of the running for the slugger.