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.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.