Miami Marlins: Has Mat Latos Worn Out Welcome?
By Ehsan Kassim
For the Miami Marlins, Mat Latos turned in his second best start of the season, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. His 7 shutout innings with 7 punch outs and 1 walk comes a close second to his 11-strikeout performance against the Rockies in June.
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With Latos not being a free agent in the off-season and not in the Marlins’ long-term plans, the team has made him available at the July 31st trade deadline, which is just 9-days away.
After his dominant start last night, it was no surprise to hear this morning, with the trade deadline just 9 days away, teams linked to the free agent to be.
One such team, the Toronto Blue Jays, according to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports (via Twitter):
Well, actually, not really. Just two hours after Morosi tweeted of the Jays interest in the former Red, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com quickly shot down the rumor of the Jays interest.
Crasnick also added on one more nugget on Latos, one which may not sit well with Miami Marlins fans and their front office.
I don’t discredit that Crasnick has heard this from someone around the team. But I also am not compelled to completely believe it. We have not heard of any issue involving Latos and giving the Marlins any issues, unless if one of the incidents points to Latos being one of the players voicing his displeasure with manager Dan Jennings showing too much excitement about the return of ace Jose Fernandez.
If that is the case, it certainly makes the long-shot of re-signing Mat Latos this off-season when he becomes a free agent even longer.
My co-editor, Charlie Clark, posted an excellent article earlier today, wondering who the real Mat Latos is, when it comes to performance on the mound. As Charlie pointed out, Latos has been pitching nowhere near the level he was pitching with as a Red or a Padre earlier in his career, though some of that could be attributed to bad luck.
Latos owns a 4.48 ERA on the season, but his 3.32 FIP is actually better than his career 3.40 mark. So he has been pretty unlucky this season with the defensive play behind him, unlike fellow trade candidate Dan Haren.
Since returning from the DL on June 13th, Latos owns a 2.72 ERA and a 3.21 FIP in 39 2/3 innings. He’s regained some of the velocity on his fastball and his off-speed pitches have done a great job of keeping hitters off balance.
Latos, since coming back from injury, looks like he could be a strong #2 guy in any rotation, and could certainly provide a contending team with a guy that could start in a crucial playoff game, if needed.
His nagging injuries, including missing his last start, could be the only things holding him back from that.
The Miami Marlins and Jennings have stressed the importance of clubhouse chemistry since day 1. So if the reports of Latos wearing out his welcome in Miami are true, you can bet the team will ship him out before the trade deadline.
In what has been a boring season for the Miami Marlins, it looks as if things could be getting interesting, especially if Latos takes the same parting shots at the Marlins as he did with the Reds.
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Next: Who is the Real Mat Latos?