By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Every year the Blue Jays (and other teams) sign players to low-risk deals to add depth to their system and hope that they catch lightning in a bottle. Former top prospects who haven't made good on their potential, players in whom the scouts see some upside that hasn't been realized, or former All-Stars looking to come back and reclaim the glory they had once achieved. The signing of 29-year-old righty Mat Latos was the latter, as the former San Diego Padres righty was looking to return to the major leagues after injury problems had sapped his effectiveness.
The Blue Jays signed Latos to a deal worth $1.5 million at the major league level with $500,000 in incentives. As a 22 year old, Latos finished eighth in NL Cy Young Award voting and pitched extremely well between 2010 and 2014, with a 3.27 ERA and 1.16 WHIP over 143 starts.
Since then, however, he had struggled to stay on the field, throwing 116 1/3 innings between Miami, the Dodgers and the Angels in 2015 and 70 innings between the White Sox and Nationals in 2016.
In spring training, Latos wasn't particularly effective, giving up 11 earned runs in 14 2/3 innings, allowing 13 hits and eight walks with nine strikeouts. He accepted his assignment to the minors and pitched with triple-A Buffalo twice, tossing nine innings and giving up one run on three hits with nine strikeouts and six walks in that span. Called up to Toronto, he started on April 24 and allowed four runs over five innings before showing some promise in his next outing, throwing six scoreless innings against the St. Louis Cardinals (in the NL park) while walking four and giving up three hits. He pitched one more game, giving up seven runs in Yankee Stadium over four innings, allowing 10 hits and one walk but allowed four home runs to the Yankees.
Sent back down to the minors, Latos accepted the outright assignment and made four more appearances with Buffalo including a solid 5 1/3 innings outing in which he gave up one run on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts on May 25. He also gave up seven runs against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs in 4 2/3 innings so one might say his return to Buffalo was a mixed bag.
Ultimately, the Jays released Latos on May 30, bringing his Blue Jays career to a close.
Latos is currently a free agent.
2017 Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: D-
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