The Padres still need to fill out some spots in their starting rotation. As of right now the only solid three are James Shields, Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross. After that the best bets are young arms like Colin Rea and Robbie Erlin. Could the Padres sign one of their original homegrown talents Mat Latos?
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Latos was drafted by the Padres in the 11th round of the 2006 draft and made his major league debut in 2009. His best season came in 2010 when he went 14-10 with a 2.92 ERA. He even finished 8th in Cy Young Award voting. He seemed destined to become the next Jake Peavy – but there were some underlining issues going on. His attitude was not good and his ego seemed too outsized for his own good. Following a 2011 that saw his ERA spike to 3.47 he was shipped off to the Reds in a big trade that brought the Padres Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez, and Yasmani Grandal. That deal was finally cleared off the Padres books recently as Alonso was traded away.
Last year Mat Latos started the year with the Marlins but was shipped to the Dodgers after just 16 starts. With the Marlins he was 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA but the Dodgers liked his power arm to help them down the stretch. He was horrible in just 5 starts for the Dodgers, allowing 18 runs in 24 innings. He was released by the team and picked up by the Angles for three bullpen appearances in their failed attempt to make the playoffs in the crowded NL West.
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Whether or not the Padres feel like they can get meaningful contribution from Latos remains to be seen or if they want to try. His value has certainly taken a hit by his recent bad performance. He also is still just 28. Another factor I believe the Padres should consider is if James Shields might be able to have a positive influence on him. Both have fiery outspoken personalities and early on their careers might have been on similar paths. Yet Shields was able to mature and become a team and staff leader, while it appears that Latos has not. He would likely take much less than other top free agent starters on the market like Wei-Yin Chen or Yovani Gallardo and it appears that they could afford him after freeing up some salary space so far.
They need another veteran and let Rea/Erlin battle each other for the last spot – and Latos could be the guy to fit the bill.