Blue Jays remain linked to Mat Latos ahead of deadline


Another day, another loosely-linked Blue Jays trade rumor from the wonderful world of Twitter. Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported earlier today that the Blue Jays are among the teams interested in Marlins righty Mat Latos, an intriguing young rental arm who is very likely to be dealt ahead of the July 31st deadline.

These rumors, however, are nearly always followed up with a “but”. In this situation, Morosi notes that Latos is not one of the Jays “top targets”. While this could easily be brushed off as another pre-deadline fluff rumor, it really depends on who Alex Anthopoulos considers to be his top targets.

If Anthopoulos and the organization are still, for some brilliant reason, aiming high at a Johnny Cueto, David Price or Jeff Samardzija, then that could give the Latos rumor some legs. Given how unlikely those targets are, Latos would represent a mid-range option that still has the ability to impact the middle of the rotation without costing multiple top-tier prospects.

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The 6’6″, 245 pound Latos broke into the league as a 21-year old with the San Diego Padres then won 14 games with a sub-3.00 ERA as a 22-year old in 2010. After three quality seasons in Cincinnati he struggled mightily out of the gates with Miami this season, but as you see in Morosi’s tweet above, he’s gotten back on track now that he’s at full health.

Over those past six starts since returning from injury, Latos has pitched 6.0 innings or more in all but one and managed to reign in his walk totals, which gave him trouble earlier in the year. His current FIP of 3.32 is just a shade under his career mark of 3.40 while his 1.263 WHIP is quickly regressing to his career mark of 1.176. Given that his 2015 K/9 (8.1) and BB/9 (2.7) are also the exact same as his career totals, Latos can be viewed as a relatively known commodity. As long as he’s healthy.

In a fantasy market where all second-tier pitching options cost the same price, Latos would one of the more intriguing options, but the Marlins’ trade demands will obviously enter the picture, as will Alex Anthpoulos’ hesitancy  to add a two-month rental. Especially given the recent injury and Latos’ potential to bump his value with another hot outing, Miami could very well stretch any negotiations up until the final hours.

UPDATE (1:00 ET):

Jerry Crasnick of ESPN and Baseball America has since taken to Twitter to take a differing stance, stating that the Jays are not interested in Latos but would be more open to Dan Haren. Take all of this for what it is, pick you you do (or don’t) believe, and discuss below!

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