Reds right-hander Mat Latos had an odd outing Sunday: he allowed five homers but no other hits or walks in 7 1/3 innings in defeating the Rockies.
Carlos Gonzalez hit two of the five homers off Latos, with Troy Tulowitzki, Michael Cuddyer and Dexter Fowler also taking him deep. Fowler’s homer in the eighth knocked him out of the game in the eighth.
After Jose Arredondo walked the only hitter he faced, Aroldis Chapman got five outs for the save in the Reds’ 7-5 win.
There were nine homers hit in all at Great American Ball Park. Rockies starter Jamie Moyer allowed the other four. He surrendered all seven Reds runs and took the loss.
It was the first time this year that nine homers were hit in a game. The last time it happened was Sept. 10, 2011, also in a contest between the Reds and Rockies.
Latos surely missed his old digs in San Diego today. He’s now given up 10 homers in six home starts this season. Still, he’s gone 3-1 with a 4.10 ERA in Cincinnati. He’s given up just one homer in four road starts, yet he has a 5.40 ERA in those games.
Around this time last year, the ink was drying on Manny Machado‘s 10-year, $300 million contract with the Padres and Bryce Harper was about to put the finishing touches on his 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies. We had gotten used to premier free agents hanging out in limbo until late February and even into March. This past offseason, however, was a return to normal. The top three free agents — Gerrit Cole, Anthony Rendon, and Stephen Strasburg — all signed in December. Once the big names are off the board, the lesser free agents subsequently tend to find homes. There were a handful of noteworthy signings in January, but pretty much everyone was off the board when February began.
There are a handful of free agents remaining as I write this, with one name really sticking out: Yasiel Puig. Last season, between the Reds and Indians, Puig hit .267/.327/.458 with 24 home runs, 84 RBI, 76 runs scored, and 19 stolen bases in 611 plate appearances. He was one of only seven players in the league last year to hit at least 24 home runs and swipe at least 19 bases. While Puig has had some problems over the years, he still possesses a rare blend of power and speed that would seem useful.
The Marlins, White Sox, and Rockies have been linked to Puig this offseason. His market has been otherwise quiet since he became a free agent. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden suggests Puig will have to settle for a “pillow contract” — a one-year deal with which Puig reestablishes his market value, aiming to pursue a multi-year deal the following offseason. Along with the aforementioned three teams, Bowden suggests the Mariners, Indians, Pirates, Giants, Red Sox, and Cardinals as other teams that could potentially fit with Puig, which is not to be confused with teams having expressed interest in his services.