The clock was ticking for Mat Latos and the Nats, who had until today to decide just what exactly they were going to do with the 28-year-old hurler’s minor league deal.
Latos’ season has been a measure of extremes, with his absurd start (0.74 ERA through 24.1 IP with the White Sox) nullified by a troublesome slump (7.25 ERA and 9 HR through the following 36 IP). He had regressed, hard, and you could blame the drop in his velocity over the years on a series of knee injuries if you wanted to, but the truth was, the White Sox just didn’t have a use for a pitcher who could lose a game all on his own.
The Nationals scooped him up in late June with a minor league deal riddled with escape clauses for Latos to find another option. But, as Ken Rosenthal reported, Latos didn’t want one.
Source: #Nationals will add Latos once rosters expand. Could have opted out today if not added, but agreed to stay at AAA until Thursday.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 29, 2016
It makes sense, after that downward spiral, that Latos would elect to stay. With Triple A Syracuse, Latos has found a small groove, making three starts and accumulating a 1.06 ERA, with 10 SO and 7 BB in 17 IP. Plus, in going from Chicago to Washington, he’s latched onto a contender to whom he could realistically contribute.
Latos will join a staff in Washington that lost Stephen Strasburg to the 15-day DL last week. Despite the absences of Strasburg and Joe Ross, Latos appears to be a part of a wide swath of pitching options for the Nats, who also don’t face any real threats as far as taking the NL East goes with a month to play.