Mat Latos, Reds avoid arbitration with two-year contract

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Cincinnati has avoided arbitration with Mat Latos by signing the right-hander to a two-year, $11.5 million contract.

Latos was arbitration eligible for the first time at age 25 and requested $4.7 million while the Reds countered at $4.15 million. This deal gives him some financial security in case an injury happens and gives the team some cost certainty in case he has a big year. And he’ll still be arbitration eligible again in 2015.

Latos was acquired from the Padres last offseason for Yonder Alonso, Brad Boxberger, Yasmani Grandal, and Edinson Volquez, throwing 209 innings with a 3.48 ERA and 185/64 K/BB ratio to show that his success in San Diego was hardly a Petco Park illusion.

Among all active pitchers with at least 100 career starts Latos ranks 14th in ERA (3.41) and 15th in strikeouts per nine innings (8.42).

Dave Roberts: It “doesn’t make sense” for Scott Kazmir to start year in Dodgers’ rotation

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Scott Kazmir won’t begin the regular season in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Manager Dave Roberts said after Kazmir’s Cactus League outing on Sunday that it “doesn’t make sense” for the ailing Kazmir to break camp in the rotation, Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times reports. The lefty will instead rehab some more and join the rotation at a later time.

Kazmir has been battling a hip issue which has caused his mechanics to suffer. He was clocked in the low 80’s 10 days ago and wasn’t much better on Sunday afternoon.

Last season with the Dodgers, Kazmir posted a 4.56 ERA with a 134/52 K/BB ratio in 136 1/3 innings, his worst numbers since returning to the majors in 2013.

Robert Gsellman wins spot in Mets’ rotation

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Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Robert Gsellman has won the No. 4 spot in the Mets’ starting rotation. He adds that the Mets are likely to play things cautiously with lefty Steven Matz. The fifth and final rotation spot will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo.

Gsellman, 23, has had a great spring. The right-hander has allowed three earned runs on 15 hits and four walks with nine strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings. That is on the heels of seven solid starts at the end of the 2016 season during which he yielded 12 earned runs on 40 hits and 12 walks with 40 strikeouts in 41 innings.

Matz, 25, is dealing with irritation in his left elbow. He had surgery in October to remove a bone spur and was a Tommy John patient several years ago. It sounds like the Mets are leaning towards having him start the season on the disabled list.

Wheeler, 26, isn’t having a great spring. He’s surrendered seven runs in 7 1/3 innings. Lugo has given up three earned runs in seven spring innings and also looked solid in the World Baseball Classic although he took the loss in the final against the United States.