Mat Latos cleared to join Reds’ rotation on Saturday

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Mat Latos tossed 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball Monday for Triple-A Louisville, showing enough in that rehab start to convince Cincinnati’s decision-makers that he is finally ready for MLB action.

John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the right-handed Latos — who has been out all year because of knee, calf, and elbow issues — has officially been cleared to join the Reds’ starting rotation this Saturday night against the Brewers.

Latos posted a solid 3.16 ERA (121 ERA+) and 187 strikeouts in 210 2/3 innings last season. The 26-year-old is capable of providing a nice boost for the Reds, who open play on Tuesday night with a disappointing 29-33 record and -20 run differential.

The Giants are interested in Evan Longoria

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today says that the San Francisco Giants “have keen interest” in Rays third baseman Evan Longoria.

Longoria is coming off his worst season as a major leaguer, having hit .261/.313/.424 with 20 homers in 2017. He’s also still owed $86 million through 2022. Which, back when the deal was signed seemed like quite a bargain for the Rays — and likely has been over the duration of the contract — but now seems somewhat steep for the 32 year-old third baseman. That said, the Giants currently have Pablo Sandoval penciled in at third base on their depth chart, so Longoria would definitely be an upgrade, even if 2017’s dip wasn’t just a blip.

Nightengale says that for the Giants to take on Longoria, the Rays would have to take on a high salary veteran such as Denard Span or Hunter Pence. Span is owed $9 million in 2018, with a $4 million buyout on a $12 million option for 2019. Pence is owed $18.5 million in 2018 in the final year of his contract and has a full no-trade clause.

If he stays with the Rays, Longoria will achieve 10-5 rights — full no-trade protection due to being a ten-year veteran with five years of service on the same club — so if the Rays are going to move him, it’ll be much easier this offseason, not once the 2018 season begins.