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.
The Red Sox might be trying to move the wrong pitcher, according to the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo. Cafardo revealed that while the Sox have been trying to market right-hander Clay Buchholz, more teams would be interested in trades involving southpaw Drew Pomeranz.
The club appears reluctant to deal Pomeranz, especially because his price tag comes in at a cool $4.7 million to Buchholz’s $13.5 million in 2017. Those who have already expressed interest in the veteran hurlers, including the Twins, Mariners and Royals, also seem put off by Buchholz’s salary requirements as he enters his 32nd year.
Health could be another factor preventing teams from jumping to make trade offers, as Cafardo quotes an AL executive who believes the “medicals on both Pomeranz and Buchholz probably aren’t that great.” Neither pitcher suffered any major injuries during the 2016 season, though Pomeranz missed just over a week of play due to forearm soreness.
Pomeranz outperformed his fellow starter in 2016, pitching to a 3.32 ERA and career-best 9.8 K/9 through 170 2/3 innings with the Padres and Red Sox. He got off to an exceptionally strong start in San Diego, where his ERA dropped to 2.47 through the first half of the year before the Padres dealt him to Boston for minor league right-hander Anderson Espinoza. Buchholz, on the other hand, struggled with a 4.78 ERA and saw a decline in both his BB/9 and K/9 rates as he worked out a career-low 1.69 K/BB through 139 1/3 innings with the Sox.
Mariners’ right-hander Arquimedes Caminero is nearing a deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune. The club has reportedly agreed to sell the 29-year-old’s contract, Dutton writes, though no official move has been announced by either team yet. Caminero is under club control through 2020 and currently ineligible for arbitration.
The right-hander began the 2016 season with the Pirates but was sent to the Mariners in a trade for Seattle minor leaguers Jake Brentz and Pedro Vasquez in order to clear space in the Bucs’ bullpen. With the Mariners, Caminero produced a 3.66 ERA and 8.2 K/9 through 19 2/3 innings in the second half of the year. Although he boasts an electric fastball, one which consistently averaged 98.7 m.p.h. in 2016, his success rate has been tempered by poor control throughout his major league career. According to Dutton, the Mariners’ willingness to sell Caminero’s contract was a strong indication that they did not see him as a viable contender for their 2017 bullpen or as a potential trade chip further down the line.
Should the deal go through, the right-hander will be the second former Mariner to sign with a Japanese club for the 2017 season. Per Dutton’s report, outfielder Stefen Romero also picked up a contract with the Orix Buffaloes of NPB in late November.