Marlins land Latos as rotation gets more seasoning
Miami acquires front-line righty with postseason experience; Jennings dealt for Rienzo
By Joe Frisaro
SAN DIEGO -- The Marlins remained relatively quiet the first couple days at the Winter Meetings, but they went out with a bang, consummating two trades on Thursday that reeled in some needed pitching depth.
The biggest impact move was reaching a deal for Mat Latos, a proven top-of-the-rotation right-hander with postseason experience. Miami also acquired righty Andre Rienzo from the White Sox.
For Latos, the Marlins are parting with right-hander Anthony DeSclafani and catching prospect Chad Wallach. Lefty reliever Dan Jennings is going to Chicago for Rienzo.
The two moves capped a whirlwind final 24 hours at the Meetings for Miami.
Bringing in Latos, who attended Coconut Creek High School and Broward College near Fort Lauderdale, strengthens the Marlins' starting pitching. They made it clear they coveted a proven starter to help fortify the rotation until Jose Fernandez returns from Tommy John surgery. Fernandez is expected back around the All-Star break.
Latos, who turned 27 on Tuesday, is an imposing 6-foot-6, 245-pounder who brings impressive credentials. The right-hander, who began his career with the Padres in 2009, is 60-45 with a 3.34 ERA in 153 career starts. In 2012, he pitched in the National League Division Series with the Reds.
Latos was hampered by a left knee injury in 2014, which required surgery. In 16 starts, he was 5-5 with a 3.25 ERA.
"It's a great acquisition for us," president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "[Latos] is a top-of-the-rotation arm. When healthy, he's a very good pitcher, and [he] will fit in nicely with the arms already here."
Latos may wind up with the Marlins for just one season, because he is eligible for free agency in 2016.
In a 24-hour span, Miami added considerable experience to its rotation. Haren, 34, is 142-122 with a 3.69 ERA in 12 seasons.
With Haren, however, there is a question mark. The right-hander, who lives in Southern California, has said he may opt to retire than play for his seventh club. Right now, he is weighing his options.
Miami, though, may wind up trading Eovaldi for a power bat, which remains a need.
"We have a very deep rotation," Hill said. "That is what we like. It insulates you if something should happen, and we feel that we still have a strong rotation, no matter what happens."
Rienzo, 26, is a right-hander from Brazil, who may wind up as a starter or reliever. In two seasons with the White Sox, he is 6-8 with a 5.89 ERA in 120 2/3 innings.
Rienzo split the 2014 season between Triple-A Charlotte and Chicago, going a combined 5-9 with a 5.66 ERA in 28 games, including 20 starts. The 6-foot-3 right-hander posted a 1-4 mark and 4.05 ERA in 10 Minor League games, while going 4-5 with a 6.82 ERA in 18 appearances with the White Sox.
DeSclafani, 24, opened last season in Double-A Jacksonville, and he also pitched at Triple-A New Orleans. The right-hander made 13 appearances, including five starts, for the Marlins, going 2-2 with a 6.27 ERA in 33 innings.
Miami acquired DeSclafani in 2012 from the Blue Jays.
Jennings, 27, was a ninth-round pick of the Marlins in 2008, and this past season, he was 0-2 with a 1.34 ERA in 47 appearances.
McKirahan was picked in the MLB Phase of the Rule 5 Draft from the Cubs' system. He has spent four seasons in the Cubs' organization, rising as high as Double-A Tennessee in 2014. In that time, he has posted a 2.16 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP in 89 appearances -- all in relief.
Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.