Mat Latos on Reds’ clubhouses in 2012 and ’13: “Everything went to [expletive].”

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Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports had a Q&A session with new Marlins starter Mat Latos and asked him a series of questions. Latos was asked what was appealing about the Marlins, and the right-hander said that they would have been on the top of his list of potential destinations if he had not been traded and simply became a free agent after the season.

Latos suggested he could be the veteran presence on a young team that makes the difference. To emphasize his point, he pointed to the Reds after losing third baseman Scott Rolen in 2012 and starter Bronson Arroyo in 2013. Latos said, “Everything went to [expletive].” He continued:

When Scott was there, we had guys doing exactly what they were supposed to do. After Scott left, we had guys with two years in the big leagues, in the clubhouse, on their phones, laying down in the video room, just hanging out during games, not in the dugout, not cheering their teammates on. Our dugout looked like a ghost town.

After Bronson, the same exact thing. We had starters in there roping our (clubhouse attendants), like, cattle-roping our clubbies. Guys on their computers, buying stuff, hanging out in the clubhouse. We had a guy with a year-and-a-half in the big leagues wandering around the clubhouse, hanging out. We had a closer in there sleeping until the seventh inning. We lose that veteran leadership, that’s what happens. You can’t have that . . . it turns into a circus.

The Reds went 90-72 in 2013 sans Rolen, losing the National League Wild Card game to the division rival Pirates. Due mostly to injuries, the Reds finished 76-86 this past season, their first without Arroyo.

Latos will be looking to bolster a Marlins team that went 77-85 and finished fourth in the NL East in 2014. He had another strong showing, posting a 3.25 ERA with a 74/26 K/BB ratio in 102 1/3 innings for the Reds, but the 27-year-old missed 85 games on the disabled list recovering from knee surgery to start the season and elbow problems at the end of the season.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?