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 Padres may have some interest in acquiring Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, according to a recent report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. It seems unlikely that the team would deal their starting third baseman with J.P. Crawford (fractured left hand) sidelined through July; to that end, however, they signed infielder Danny Espinosa as minor league depth on Friday and have reportedly been eying the Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, among other veteran options.
Franco, 25, entered Sunday batting .255/.297/.425 with nine home runs and a .721 OPS in 229 plate appearances this season. While he has yet to live up to the .280+ average, 1.9+ fWAR he posted during his rookie campaign, he’s been a solid 20+ home run producer over the last few years and shown some stability at the hot corner. He’s also under team control for the next three years and could provide some much-needed insurance behind the Padres’ current third base option, 27-year-old Christian Villanueva.
Rosenthal notes that the Phillies could strike a deal for one of San Diego’s relievers, though no one specific has been connected to the team yet — and the club probably wouldn’t be able to finesse a one-for-one deal given the quality of the Padres’ pitchers. The Phillies’ bullpen has looked downright abysmal over the last month, placing 11th-worst in the league with a collective 5.34 ERA and 0.3 fWAR. Their failure to procure a viable reliever beyond Seranthony Dominguez, Victor Arano and Edubray Ramos lends a certain urgency to any potential deal they make over the next few weeks, though the official trade deadline is still over a month away.