"Gives us some depth in case something happens to someone," Baker said. "Or, if nothing else, September's right around the corner. I think Mat's trying to get in the best shape possible first. He's got to get into tip-top shape, which I asked him to do over the winter when I was talking to him about possibly signing then."
Baker tried to recruit Latos to the Nationals during this offseason in an effort to increase their starting pitching depth. Latos ultimately signed with White Sox and began the season strong, sporting a 0.74 ERA through his first four starts. But his quickly spiraled and posted a 7.25 ERA over his final seven outings before he was designated for assignment and released by Chicago earlier this month. This marks his seventh organization in eight seasons in the Majors.
Latos pitched for Baker while he was manager of the Reds from 2012-14, which is why Baker said the organization asked him about Latos before making the signing. Baker cited Latos' age, 28, and track record with him in Cincinnati as reasons that perhaps Chicago had released him prematurely.
"I know there's more in there. And he's not old," Baker said. "And he's not hurt anymore. So there's more in there, and I've seen it."
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.