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Latos, Grandal swapped in blockbuster

Patrick Ebert

Published: Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Cincinnati Reds, who won the National League Central crown in 2010, sensed the opportunity to seize the division once again in 2012 given key losses on both the Brewers and Cardinals. They also recognized that another stalwart was needed to bolster their starting rotation.

They addressed that need by trading flame-throwing yet inconsistent right-handed pitcher Edinson Volquez and three promising prospects to the San Diego Padres for potential ace Mat Latos.

Latos, only 24 years old, has gone 27-29 in three seasons with the Padres with a 3.47 ERA. His ERA indicates that he has taken some hard luck losses over the past couple of years for the Padres, as he also has struck out 413 batters and walked only 135 while giving up only 365 hits in 430 innings of work.

Armed with a dominating fastball, a sharp breaking ball and very good command, the Coconut Creek, Fla. native started for the East squad opposite the West's Jordan Walden, now a key members of the Angels' bullpen, in the 2005 Classic. Latos will join another All-American starter, Homer Bailey, who started the inaugural contest in 2003 opposite the late Nick Adenhart, on the Reds' staff.

Among the three prospects included in the trade is catcher Yasmani Grandal, another All-American alum who played for the East team in the 2006 Classic. The Reds selected Grandal with the 12
th overall pick in the 2010 draft after three productive seasons for the Miami Hurricanes. The switch-hitting backstop finished the 2011 season at the AAA level, hitting .303/.401/.488 in 113 career minor league games.

Another former Hurricane, first baseman Yonder Alonso, also a Perfect Game and WWBA alum, has been labelled as a potential trade candidate for the Reds for a couple of years since the emergence of 2010 NL MVP Joey Votto. The sweet-swinging left-handed hitter has a .293/.370/.466/.837 slash line in 313 minor league games.

Projected short-reliever and future potential closer Brad Boxberger also was included in the deal. Boxberger struck out 93 in 62 innings last year with a 2.03 ERA spanning 62 games, all in relief.

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