Analyzing the Cincinnati Reds Decision to Trade Mat Latos

Just moments after the Cincinnati Reds had dealt away Alfredo Simon to the Detroit Tigers; general manager Walt Jocketty was working the phones once again. So much so in fact, that during the press conference to announce the Simon deal, he had to answer his phone concerning the Mat Latos deal. And from there is how we establish the trade that sent Latos to the Miami Marlins. (You can read the initial story here.)

For Latos, it will be a homecoming of sorts for the Florida born and bred boy. For the Redlegs, it was a shrewd business move, but one that had to be made amidst the finances of everyday operations of running a professional ball club. On paper, the 2015 Reds may seem worse off after this trade, but not only did this deal help them massively in the future, they may have won in the short-term as well.

Dealing Latos should come as no surprise. For months on end, all the rage has been the fact that the Reds simply do not have money to re-sign their massively talented roster. By dealing Mat now, they maximize his value, while also getting a full return in exchange.

The centerpiece of this deal is starting pitcher Anthony DeSclafani. According to C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer, an executive that he spoke with said that he would have done the deal straight up, taking DeSclafani over Latos. This might seem preposterous, but consider this: Latos is coming off multiple surgeries in the past year. Even if he does return to form, it did not behoove the Reds to sit around and wait. If he were ineffective to start the season, his value would plummet, making him an immovable asset, considering there would also be no chance of him re-signing come the off-season. Latos may have a lot more name value than the Jersey boy DeSclafani, but that may not be the case for long.

Should you care to read up on DeSclafani, that article is located right here. In short, the Reds managed to deal a pitcher who was going to make an excess of $10 million this season for a former #5 overall prospect in baseball whom they will have under control for the next six seasons. These are the games economics and Jocketty just aced his mid-term exam.

The hidden gem in the two deals the Reds made may wind up being catcher Chad Wallach. His profile is located here, but as a bonus baby in this deal, his job is to come along slow and sweet. The lower throngs of the Reds minor league system could use a dependable backstop with some All-Star bloodlines (Tim Wallach is his father), even if Devin Mesoraco has firmly secured himself the catcher position. As fans have seen, what is secure one year isn’t always the next.

Our own Matt Wilkes (@MWilkesOSU on Twitter) even chimed in about the deals:

“I really like these trades for the Reds. Did they land a big name like Yoenis Cespedes that many fans were looking for? No, but I think the trades will help them out more in the long run. It’s no secret that the Reds were not going to be able to sign all four starting pitchers heading into free agency after the 2015 season. It wasn’t even a remote possibility. So, Walt Jocketty did the smart thing and got something in return for the Latos and Simon, rather than just letting them both walk at the end of the season. The Reds didn’t just get whatever they could for Latos and Simon, however; they got young, talented players in return. Jocketty got good value in players that will help them in now and in the future, as the players that were acquired are under team control for years to come. I also thought it was smart to trade the pitchers he did, as Latos is injury-prone and it seems unlikely that Simon will be able to replicate his numbers from the first half of last season. Additionally, getting Latos and Simon off the books frees up much-needed cash so that the Reds can sign a left fielder and get bullpen help. While only time will tell how these trades work out, I think Reds fans should be pleased about the return the Reds got.”

While I’m not as high on this deal as I am the one that saw Simon headed to Detroit that would be a misleading statement. If I had to give a grade to the Simon deal, I wouldn’t be giving you hyperbole by saying A+. For the Latos trade, I’d have to go just slightly lower because of the level of player the Reds were giving up, but I’d still give it an A. In one day, Walt Jocketty single-handedly re-structured the immediate future of a franchise that is doing anything but folding for 2015.