What Could The Miami Marlins Do At The Trade Deadline?

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Jun 24, 2015; Miami, FL, USA; Miami Marlins starting pitcher Mat Latos (35) throws against the St. Louis Cardinals during the fifth inning at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Mat Latos pitched quite poorly before going on the disabled list May 23rd. He has pitched much better upon his return, mostly due to his regained velocity which is looking a lot like pre-2014 levels. Before going on the DL, his average fastball velocity was down from his 90.7 MPH mark in 2014, which was already a career low.

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Since coming back from the disabled list, his season average has jumped up to 91.3 MPH and figures to keep climbing. After getting off to such a bad start, Latos’ season stats are 20.8% strikeout rate, 7.5% walk rate, 9.1% home run/fly ball rate, and 3.51 FIP. These are all virtually equal to his career stats of 21.8%, 7.2%, 8.5%, and 3.41.

Basically, Mat Latos has been as good as he’s always been and might even be pitching better than ever.

Originally, I thought Matt Garza might be a good comparable for Latos. I thought Latos might rebound from injury and solidify himself as a mid-rotation arm, much like Garza did before being traded by the Cubs. But Latos is looking more like his frontline self and while he isn’t an ace, he’s a solid 2.

Now, he sort of sits in between Garza and Zack Greinke (Greinke being traded to the Angels by the Brewers in exchange for a package highlighted by Jean Segura, who was rated the #55 prospect in baseball by MLB.com going into 2012). The Matt Garza package was headlined by Mike Olt, the #58 prospect in baseball heading into 2013. The Cubs actually came out the best of everyone, but not because Olt has been successful. The team also acquired CJ Edwards from Texas and he is currently the team’s number one prospect (after a number of graduations from the system) and ranked #38 overall in baseball.

So what could Latos bring back in a deal? I think a prospect in the same range would make some sense. At least a team’s top 5 prospect and maybe a couple of fringe guys towards the back of the top 30 or one player in the 15-20 range.

I think headliners like Jeff Hoffman from the Blue Jays or Vincent Velazquez from the Astros seem appropriate. This is probably the team’s best trade chip (if it doesn’t go into “fire sale” mode) and the team might even be able to ratchet up the price depending on how the market shapes up.

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