Marlins beef up 2015 rotation with Mat Latos acquisition

Mat Latos strengthens the Marlins rotation.
Mat Latos strengthens the Marlins rotation. (USATSI)

SAN DIEGO -- The Miami Marlins ranked 12th in the NL in rotation ERA last season, but things are already looking considerably better for 2015, at least late in the season.

Thursday, they traded young pitcher Anthony DeSclafani and catching prospect Chad Wallach for right-hander Mat Latos. And keep in mind, ace Jose Fernandez is coming off Tommy John surgery.

"He feels great, as we probably all thought would happen," manager Mike Redmond said of Fernandez. "So the timeline for me is still the same. I mean, it's still June, July, but he's feeling good, and we'll just continue the process of getting himself healthy and ready to go. Spring Training will be the first time where he's on the mound for a bullpen, I would assume, and we'll all anticipate that day. And when he comes and he's ready to go, he's going to pitch."

So come July, the Marlins will have Fernandez back at the top of the rotation, followed by ace-caliber righty Henderson Alvarez and Latos.

Latos, 27, is about as good as non-All-Stars get. In his time with the Reds -- playing home games in a hitter-friendly venue, mind you -- he went 33-16 with a 3.31 ERA (117 ERA+) and 1.18 WHIP. He battled injuries last season, but in the first two years with Cincinnati he worked over 200 innings each time.

If looking toward the stretch and having Fernandez in tow, Latos would be the number three starter and probably one of the stronger threes in all of baseball.

Until Fernandez gets back, the Miami rotation probably looks something like this:

1. Alvarez
2. Latos
3. Jarred Cosart
4. Tom Koehler
5. Nathan Eovaldi

Keep in mind there's always a chance they convince Dan Haren not to retire, which would have him in the mix as well.

Overall, that's a fine rotation. If they can hang around in contention until Fernandez returns, it becomes a pretty good one with built-in depth to withstand any other injuries.

Another point that bears mention: Latos is set to hit free agency after the 2015 season. We can't yet know if the Marlins plan on re-signing him, but dealing for him is further indication they are planning to contend right now.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

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