Sources: Dodgers have designated Mat Latos for assignment.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) September 18, 2015
You know what? While surprising, that makes a good deal of sense. Latos had clearly fallen behind Alex Wood in the rotation and arguably behind Mike Bolsinger as well. Either way, a fifth starter is never needed in October, and considering his ineffective pitching and almost total inexperience at coming out of the bullpen, there no longer seemed a role for him with the Dodgers. With the division race basically over, all that’s left is setting the pieces up for October. Latos wasn’t going to be part of that, and so freeing up the 40-man spot is essentially just letting Latos get to free agency a few weeks earlier than he would have otherwise. This makes room for Carlos Frias, who might actually have an outside shot at a postseason roster if he can show he’s healthy and effective.
This is obviously going to be portrayed as a massive failure on the part of the new front office, and undeniably this isn’t how anyone expected this would work out. On the other hand, think about what they gave up to get him. No, really. Think about it. The Dodgers sent three minor leaguers to Miami. Maybe you can name one, maybe. Very few of you can name two. No one can name all three. Hell, I can’t.
Those names were Jeff Brigham, Victor Araujo, and Jose Diaz. And just to prove how low-level those names really are, I bet no one noticed that the final name was really Kevin Guzman, who is now Diaz’ teammate in the Marlins system. If Latos wasn’t free, he was damn close.
This was a no-risk deal that worked out poorly, and there was no point in stringing it along when a better option was around. It also had just about no effect, because the Dodgers are breezing to the playoffs anyway. No point in eating up the roster spot. No point in maligning the short Latos era. I’ll miss you, though, Cat Latos. I’ll miss you a lot.