The Los Angeles Dodgers have upgraded both their starting rotation and bench situation after acquiring starter Mat Latos and first baseman/outfielder Michael Morse from the Miami Marlins, as first reported by Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Long rumored to be interested in Philadelphia Phillies ace pitcher Cole Hamels, the Dodgers may have moved in a different direction. However, this move could be the first of several, as Jayson Stark of ESPN reported last night that Los Angeles might be interested in adding two starting pitchers.
With Latos aboard, the Dodgers acquire a pitcher who is in the midst of a disappointing season but has shown signs of life. The 27-year-old was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Marlins in the offseason and was expected to be one of Miami’s reliable arms. But on the season, Latos has pitched to a 4-7 record with a 4.48 ERA, through 88-and-one-third innings. However, as noted by MLBTradeRumors, Latos has allowed just 15 earned runs in 45-and-two-thirds innings.
This move appears to be a mere rental, as Latos is set to become a free agent after the season. But with a strong showing down the stretch for the Dodgers, he could earn himself a robust contract in free agency. Going along with Latos to Los Angeles is 33-year-old right-handed Morse. Primarily a first baseman, Morse also has experience playing the outfield. He signed a two-year, $16 million deal with Miami after last season.
After hitting 16 HR and driving in 61 runs for the 2014 World Series champion San Francisco Giants last season, Morse is hitting just.214 with four HR and 12 RBI for the Marlins in 2015. Morse has extreme platoon splits this season, but they’re not what you might assume.
On the season, Morse has hit an anemic.091 against left-handed pitching through 22 at bats. Conversely, Morse’s entire HR and RBI production has come against right-handed pitching while hitting.234. Morse does have power and could spell All-Star Adrian Gonzalez at first base as the Dodgers’ outfield is packed. As mentioned by Mike Axisa of RiverAveBlues, taking Morse was purely motivated by Los Angeles not wanting to give up significant prospects.
In return for dumping the salaries of both Latos and Morse, the Marlins will give up their number 34 draft pick, as noted by Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports. Therefore, they will likely not receive any significant prospects in return. Finally, there could be money headed to Los Angeles to help cover the remaining money on both veteran’s contracts, but that is not yet known.
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