On Mat Latos

Two recent events have conspired to plant a seed of thought…and I will admit this is not fully formed yet. These events are:

  1. Pujols signing with the Angels
  2. The Padres trading Mat Latos to the Reds for some good stuff in return

So, the seed of thought is this: The Giants should consider very strongly trading Tim Lincecum. My soul hurts typing that last sentence, but I am starting to consider that it might be the best idea. Hear me out…

1) Lincecum still has 2 team controlled years (expensive arbitration years, yes, but he’s not a rental). Latos has four years left, part of what made it easier for the Reds to give up so much, so the Giants are at a bit of a disadvantage here. BUT…

2) Tim Lincecum is better than Latos and has hardware to back it up (CYAs plus a Ring). Also, Timmy has never been injured.

3) The Giants should lock up Cain and Bumgarner is under control for a while. Hopefully they’d get at least one good arm (plus a significant bat) in return for Lincecum. They should be fine, especially in the long-term, in the rotation. (Side Note: they could really do this if they still had Wheeler in the system…just sayin’).

4) As I said last week keeping Cain and Lincecum is going to be incredibly expensive, and while I’m in no way opposed to keeping them both, at some point Buster is going to get paid, and Panda, and MadBum, and Wilson (if they want to keep him) and it goes on and on. Someone is going to get left out at some point.

I have no idea what the Giants could/should get back. I don’t have any fake trade ideas. But seeing Cardinal fans take a deep sigh of relief when the club didn’t tie their fate to El Hombre for the next decade and then observing the return the Pads got for Latos makes me curious. It makes me think. It opens me up to the possibility.

I don’t like to say it, but they should think about it. At the very least.

(-SB)

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Silly, Silly Mat Latos

Matt Latos, pitcher for the San Diego Padres, recently signed three baseballs with the words, “I hate SF!” These are powerful words coming from a dude that only has one full year in the Bigs under his belt.

As a devout Giants fan living in San Diego, I feel some pull to take responsibility for the divisive words of my fellow sun bronzed So Cal local (enjoy that mildly fabricated visual snapshot). I believe there are two ways to approach this bold, but immature statement:

1. Get Offended and Angry: Latos pitched pretty well against the Giants last year. Not dominant, but solid. With that said, Latos is far from a proven veteran. There are some guys who run their mouth and it is somewhat expected in the wonderful world of overpaid/immature athlete discourse. But those guys’ comments become an afterthought once they hit 40+ homers or win 20+ games the following year. Mat Latos is certainly not one of those guys (yet). In fact, he sandwiched his solid year by going 1-2 with a 6.20ERA in March/April and 1-5 with a 5.66 ERA in Sept/Oct. So, how could a guy with only one year of big league experience, who pitched terribly when it counted, say something like this? It is offensive, immature and will certainly create a heated rivalry in 2011.

2. Laugh Whilst Waving the WS Trophy: Maybe Latos was just trying to be funny? Even if he was, no Giants fan will give him that much credit, so we must continue to assume that he was trying to take an unwarranted jab. With that said, a Giants fan should be thrilled about his comments. Not only did he make himself look bad, he offered another opportunity to show off our World Series Trophy. What better way to offer a sterling rebuttal than to simply step to the trophy closet and begin to polish your hardware? I couldn’t help but laugh when I heard a fan’s recent response to Latos’ actions: “Lincecum should sign a ball that says ‘Who the (*&% is MattLatos’?”

Bottom line: Writing “I hate SF” isn’t intimidating…in fact, it might be showing some insecurity on the part of a team that collapsed in historical proportions down the stretch. Now, Latos can quiet his “haters” by pitching lights out next year (specifically against the Giants), but if he doesn’t he will realize the ceaseless brutality of a fan base that not only was offended, but has the pride of a championship banner to point to.

So was it something to get offended by, or to laugh at? Is there a third approach?

(-JH)