Mat Latos allows three homers, thinks Indians stole signs

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Mat Latos got rocked for seven runs last night against Cleveland, serving up three homers in four innings, and afterward the Reds right-hander said he thinks the Indians were stealing his signs from catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Here’s what Latos told Tom Groeschen of the Cincinnati Enquirer:

I thought I made some good pitches that they spit on, with a runner on second base. … When you go back and look at video, a couple runners on second base, they put better swings on the ball than they did most of the time without a runner on second base.

Latos went on to say that Shin-Soo Choo clearly looking for a breaking ball after they changed signs “shows me a little something.” However, he repeatedly blamed himself for leaving pitches up in the zone and in accusing the Indians of stealing signs Latos didn’t actually blame them for doing so, calling it “kind of the idea” and “that’s the way baseball goes, and it is what it is.”

And while stolen signs might have contributed to Latos allowing three homers it’s worth noting that prior to last night he’d served up 13 homers in 76 innings, including five at home against the Rockies on May 27. He’s also struggled all season overall, posting a career-worst 5.20 ERA after the Reds acquired him in a blockbuster deal with the Padres.

Report: Yankees acquire James Paxton from the Mariners

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Yankees have acquired starter James Paxton from the Mariners. Corey Brock of The Athletic reports that the Mariners will be receiving three prospects from the Yankees: pitcher Justus Sheffield, outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams, and pitcher Erik Swanson.

Paxton, 30, has been among the game’s better starters over the past few years. In 2018, he went 11-6 with a 3.76 ERA and a 208/42 K/BB ratio in 160 1/3 innings. The lefty has two more years of arbitration eligibility remaining after earning $4.9 million this past season.

Sheffield, 22, is the headliner in the Mariners’ return. He made his major league debut in September for the Yankees, pitching 2 2/3 innings across three appearances. Two of those appearances were scoreless; in the third, he gave up a three-run home run to J.D. Martinez, certainly not an uncommon result among pitchers. MLB Pipeline rates Sheffield as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and No. 31 overall in baseball.

Thompson-Williams, 23, was selected by the Yankees in the fifth round of the 2016 draft. This past season, between Single-A Charleston and High-A Tampa, he hit .299/.363/.546 with 22 home runs, 74 RBI, 63 runs scored, and 20 stolen bases in 415 plate appearances. He was not among the Yankees’ top-30 prospects, per MLB Pipeline.

Swanson, 25, was selected by the Yankees in the eighth round of the 2014 draft. He spent most of his 2018 campaign between Double-A Trenton and Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Overall, he posted a 2.66 ERA with a 139/29 K/BB ratio in 121 2/3 innings. MLB Pipeline rated him No. 22 in the Yankees’ system.

This trade comes as no surprise as the Yankees clearly wanted to upgrade the starting rotation and the Mariners seemed motivated to trade Paxton this offseason. To the Mariners’ credit, they got a good return for Paxton, as Sheffield likely becomes the organization’s No. 1 prospect. The only worry about this trade for the Yankees is how Paxton will fare in the more hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium compared to the spacious Safeco Field. The Yankees are likely not done adding, however. Expect even more new faces before the start of spring training.