Mat Latos One and Done with Marlins?
By Ehsan Kassim
Mat Latos was arguably the Miami Marlins biggest offseason acquisition. Latos, a South Florida product, is happy to be back in his home town, but it seems like that stay won’t be prolonged. According to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald, Latos wanted a multi-year deal, but the Marlins never offered one.
"Highly-regarded pitcher Mat Latos, a free agent after 2015, lost his arbitration case Thursday and will make $9.4 million, not the $10.4 million he asked for. Though he would have been interested in a multiyear deal, the Marlins never offered one.If he stays healthy (he was limited to 16 starts last season) and pitches like he usually has in his career, he would be very costly to keep. “We love what he brings to the table and we’re happy he’s with us and we’ll just see how things progress having him in house,” Marlins executive Michael Hill said."
That Jackson nugget does not make it sound like the Marlins intend on keeping Latos around longterm, making this more of a one-year rental. An expensive one-year rental at that, as the Marlins had to surrender one of their top pitching prospects in Anthony DeSclfafani to acquire Latos.
Another strike against the Marlins chances of resigning Latos after the season is that the two sides have likely gotten off on the wrong foot. Latos and the Marlins had a sizeable gap in negotiations for his final salary arbitration number, which resulted in the two sides headed to an arbitration case to determine Latos’ 2015 salary.
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The Marlins won the arbitration case over Latos. MLB.com’s Joe Frisaro doesn’t believe the fact the two sides had to go to arbitration bodes well for the Marlins chances of signing Latos longterm (at the 1:05 mark).
If the Marlins are not prepared to pony up money for James Shields this offseason and they feel like Mat Latos is going to be out of their price range when he hits free agency a year from now, you have to wonder where the Marlins figure to improve their rotation from in 2016.
Justin Nicolino and Jose Urena are the team’s two top pitching prospects closest to the major leagues, but each have questions surrounding them whether they can be capable major league starters.
With all signs pointing to Shields landing with the Padres, the importance of keeping Mat Latos for the future went up for the Marlins. His situation is going to be an interesting to watch as the season, and eventually the off-season get closer.