The way it’s worked out, the Reds’ Mat Latos and the Padres’ Edinson Volquez have made their starts on the same day five straight times now, making it hard not to compare the two. It’s a comparison Volquez is winning hands down.
Volquez limited the Diamondbacks to two runs and four hits in six innings Saturday, while Latos was tagged for seven runs — four earned — in 3 1/3 innings by the Astros. It left Volquez with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.37 WHIP in 12 starts and Latos with a 4.91 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP in 11 starts.
Of course, ERA doesn’t tell the whole story here. Volquez is pitching half of his games in Petco Park, while Latos has the misfortune of working at Great American. Still, the home park isn’t Latos’ problem so far. Latos has a 4.10 ERA in six starts at home and a 6.12 ERA in five away starts. Volquez has a 3.17 ERA in eight home starts and a 3.97 ERA in four road outings.
Of the two, I’d still take Latos for the rest of the season. Volquez continues to have issues with walks and hasn’t been working deep into games. Latos’ road struggles seem like a fluke, given that he has allowed just two homers away from Great American.
Still, the Reds gave up an awful lot of talent to get the supposed upgrade from Volquez to Latos, parting with first baseman Yonder Alonso, catcher Yasmani Grandal and reliever Brad Boxberger in the trade. It won’t necessarily doom their chances in the NL Central — they didn’t really have room for Alonso or Grandal this year anyway — but it would be a bitter pill to swallow if Volquez remains the superior pitcher the whole year through.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.