MLB Trade Rumors: Mat Latos Traded to the Reds for Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Others

I was out getting some Christmas shopping done this afternoon when the news broke that the Reds had traded Yonder Alonso "plus others" for Padres starter, and potential ace, Mat Latos. As the afternoon grew old, the names of the "plus others" came out, and I was floored. Here are the details of the trade:

Reds get: Mat Latos

Padres get: Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, Yasmani Grandal, and Brad Boxberger

Here is ESPN and SiriusXM's Jim Bowden's reaction:

JimBowdenESPNxm JIM BOWDEN
Deal would have made more sense if the Reds had included Alonso or Grandal...but NOT both! Reds win short term..Padres win deal long term.

I couldn't agree more. I have to say I was very surprised at how much the Reds gave up in this deal for Latos. Don't get me wrong, I like Latos a lot, even pitching in Great American Ballpark.

More of my reaction and fantasy impact of this deal after the jump:

My second reaction to this deal was what are the Padres going to do with 4 first baseman? Yonder Alonso joins Jesus Guzman, Anthony Rizzo, and Kyle Blanks. Well Bowden reported that Alonso will be the Padres starting first baseman, and Rizzo will go back to AAA for "more seasoning", or could be traded. Bowden speculated that Padres GM Josh Byrnes could offer Rizzo to the Cubs, who need a first baseman and are rebuilding, for Matt Garza. I imagine the Padres would have to give up more than Rizzo for Garza. The Cubs could get more from the Rangers for Garza, possibly pitching prospect Martin Perez.

In addition to Alonso, the Padres received catching prospect Yasmani Grandal, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger. Here's a quick take on the two prospects in the deal:

Yasmani Grandal

He played at three levels in the minors in 2011, hitting a combined .305-.401-.500 with 14 HRs and 68 RBI. Here is the breakdown of how he performed at each level, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:

Year Age Lev G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
2011 22 A+-AA-AAA 105 374 69 114 31 0 14 68 59 97 .305 .401 .500 .901
2011 22 A+ 56 206 47 61 14 0 10 40 41 57 .296 .410 .510 .920
2011 22 AA 45 156 20 47 15 0 4 26 13 39 .301 .360 .474 .835
2011 22 AAA 4 12 2 6 2 0 0 2 5 1 .500 .667 .667 1.333
2 Seasons 113 402 73 122 32 0 14 69 63 101 .303 .401 .488 .888
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/17/2011.

As you can see, he continued to hit well once promoted to AA, where he hit .301-.360-.474. I assume with Nick Hundley set to start at catcher in San Diego in 2012, Grandal will tear up the Pacific Coast League and could be called up at mid-season.

Brad Boxberger

Boxberger pitched at two levels in the minors in 2011, in AA and AAA, pitching in relief. He dominated in his 62 innings of work, saving 11 games, with a 2.03 ERA, a 0.968 WHIP, and an excellent K/9 of 13.5. He has to harness his control as he walked just over 4 batters per nine innings, but limited hitters to a .137 BA in AA and a .163 BA in AAA, so he has closer potential, and we could see him closing in San Diego sometime in 2012.

Speaking of harnessing his control, Edinson Volquez had trouble with his control in 2011, his first year returning fromTommy John surgery. Volquez walked more than 5 batters per nine innings in 2011, and ended the season with a 5.71 ERA, 5.29 FIP and 4.08 xFIP in 108.2 innings of work. But, along with the bad, there was some good. He struck out 8.62 batters per nine innings, and kept the ball on the ground, as his 52.4% ground ball rate indicates. Moving from Great American Ballpark to Petco increases his value quite a bit in my opinion, as he was victimized by the long ball in 2011, giving up 19 home runs in his 108.2 innings, for a 1.57 HR/9 rate. That should come down pitching in Petco Park.

Alonso will be moving to a team where he will start everyday, and while he may not hit for the power i expected, he should still hit for a solid batting average and drive in some runs. I project him to hit 14-17 home runs with around 80 RBI and a .290 batting average in 2012.

The big piece in this deal is Mat Latos, as he moves from pitching in Petco to Great American Ballpark. At first glance, one would think it hurts his fantasy value, but I think he will be fine. He went 9-14 in 2011, with a 3.47 ERA, 3.16 FIP and 3.52 xFIP in a career high 194.1 innings. He struck out 8.57 batters and walked just under 3 batters per nine innings and kept the ball on the ground at a 43% clip. The only concern I have is whether his HR/FB rate will increase moving out of Petco, as he is a bit of a fly ball pitcher (41.1% FB%), so it could happen. But as long as he keeps the ball on the ground and maintains his strikeout rate, the increase in home runs may not hurt him as much.

In his career, he has pitched just two games in Great American Ballpark, where the Reds put up a triple slash line of .111-.149-.267 with a 1.93 ERA and a 0.50 WHIP. Sure, small sample size, but the NL Central also lost two of the best power hitters in baseball in Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols. I think Latos maintains his value with this trade, which could result in more wins in 2012.

I like this deal for the Padres a great deal, as it sets them up very well for 2012 and beyond. It also helps the Reds this season, as they were desperate for a solid starting pitcher. He is under team control for the next 4 seasons, and becomes arbitration eligible after the 2012 season. This deal probably makes the Reds the favorite to win the NL Central in 2012.
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