Through the first few weeks in April, it looked like the White Sox had gotten a steal in Mat Latos, who reeled off four straight quality starts to begin the season. Things unraveled for him quickly after that, though, and Chicago cut him loose in early June following seven straight starts in which he gave up at least three runs, sending his ERA soaring from 0.74 to 4.62. He washed up in the Nationals system, and a solid run at Triple-A earned him a promotion back to the bigs in September. However, his results with Washington were no better than they were in Chicago. The right-hander is still only 29, but injuries have robbed him of a fastball averaging 92.6 mph as recently as 2013 and flattened his once deadly slider. Someone will give him another chance this offseason, but there's no particular reason to believe a miraculous recovery is in the cards.
Latos has been informed that he will not make the Blue Jays' Opening Day roster, Blue Jays play-by-play man Mike Wilner reports. Latos has struggled throughout the spring, squandering what had looked to be a decent chance at making the roster as a long-relief option. He'll now have the choice to either begin the year at Triple-A or become a free agent, and at this point it's unclear which path the veteran will choose. Latos made 17 big league appearances for the White Sox and Nationals last season, compiling a cumulative 4.89 ERA and 1.49 WHIP across 70.0 innings.
Latos was hammered for five runs on three hits -- including one homer - and three walks while failing to record a strikeout over two innings against the Orioles on Wednesday. Wednesday marked Latos' first start of the spring -- his other two appearances came in relief -- and it was his worst performance yet. Through six Grapefruit League innings, the new Blue Jay has allowed six runs on six hits while walking three and striking out four. He's expected to make the team's bullpen as a long-relief man while possibly taking the hill for a spot start when needed. However, Latos' spring has been a rollercoaster ride so far, and the team may opt to send him to Triple-A if the righty struggles to find consistency before April rolls around.
Latos agreed to sign a minor league deal with the Blue Jays that includes an invite to major league camp, John Lott of The Athletic Toronto reports. Latos will earn $1 million if he makes the team and can add $500,000 in incentives. Inconsistent health, velocity and command have plagued Latos' career, which started out promising but has sunk in the last two years, during which he's spent more time in the bullpen. He could occupy a similar role with Toronto, serving as the top backup plan should this deep rotation need a fill-in. Moving to the AL East and a typically hitter-favorable home park would diminish any excitement, but working with adept catcher Russell Martin could help him get back on track. AL-only fantasy players can take a cheap dice roll on Latos in case he breaks camp, which is a sound bet.
Latos (hamstring) gave up two runs on two hits and a walk while striking out one batter over 1.1 innings Monday against the Marlins. He was charged with the loss. The appearance was Latos' first since Sept. 12, when he was forced to exit a start due to hamstring tightness. It seems he has turned the page on the hamstring issue, and it's possible Latos could start a game or two before the end of the regular season with NL East already wrapped up, but he didn't do himself any favors with Monday's performance.
Latos left Monday's start with hamstring tightness, and it is not believed to be serious, the Washington Post's Chelsea Janes reports. He exited after 4.1 innings Monday against the Mets. Latos was pitching well by his standards prior to the cramping in his hamstring, allowing just one run on three hits, although he did issue three walks. It sounds like health would be unlikely to prevent Latos from making another start, but he could be squeezed out if the Nationals deem Joe Ross (shoulder) ready to return to the rotation this weekend.