Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Klentak Eyeing Free Agent Arms

The Philadelphia Phillies could move to add a starting pitcher via free agency before leaving the Winter Meetings.

A number of sources have reported that Phillies GM Matt Klentak stated the following:
“I would say, if anything, we’re probably getting closer to the free-agent front than the trade front.
With his already stated preference to stockpile arms, and an opening or two in the 2016 starting rotation, who among the remaining free agent starting pitchers might be a fit for the Phillies?
One interesting candidate would be Tim Lincecum, the former Cy Young Award winner with the San Francisco Giants who is now recovering from hip surgery. 
However, it might be a little early for anyone to move on Lincecum, who was expected to hold a January showcase for teams to view his progress.
Another very intriguing name is right-hander Mat Latos, who turns 29 years old tomorrow. The former Padres and Reds stud is coming off a disjointed 2015 season split between the Miami Marlins and Los Angeles Dodgers. 

In total, Latos went 4-10 in 24 games, 21 of those starts, with a 4.95 ERA, 1.305 WHIP, and a 3.72 FIP mark. He allowed 120 hits in 116.1 innings, with a 100/32 K:BB ratio.
Latos lost a good chunk of the 2014 season due to a pair of injury situations. His season started late that year while he recovered from knee surgery. 
Then he was shut down in early September due to an elbow bruise. Still, he was effective when he did pitch, and Miami traded for him last December.
Just prior to the trade deadline this past season, with the Marlins way out of the playoff race, Miami shipped Latos to the Dodgers as part of a big 3-team trade that included the Atlanta Braves in which 13 total players and prospects, along with a competitive balance draft pick, were swapped among the three teams.
After a half-dozen ineffective outings, the Dodgers released Latos in late September. He signed with the crosstown Los Angeles Angels, with whom he made just a pair of relief appearances.
With a body full of tattoos and a rumored negative clubhouse attitude, Latos has issues to overcome besides these last two injury-marred and controversial seasons. A team like the Phillies could be a perfect-case scenario, for both team and player.
The Phillies should be looking at a rotation that features Aaron Nola and Jerad Eickhoff, possibly lefty Adam Morgan, and newcomer Jeremy Hellickson as the team enters spring training. 
Pitchers such as Matt HarrisonDavid BuchananAlec Asher, and Severino Gonzalez could be in the mix as well.
If the Phillies were to sign Latos to a modest one-year contract, it would give them an experienced arm with little downside. If he was truly a bad example or influence, they could dump him and give a youngster a shot.
However, if Latos were to take advantage, walk the straight line, and pitch to his potential, there is a reasonable chance that he could return to his pre-2014 form. 
If that were to happen, the Phillies would have themselves some trade deadline material to work with, and Latos could earn himself a nice free agent contract next off-season as he turns 30 years of age.

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