When the Padres traded Mat Latos I felt very disappointed. Actually I was pissed. I remember playing FIFA when I received the ESPN text alert that he’d been traded to Cincinnati. I was up 2-1 late against Manchester City, a perennial powerhouse, playing with poor little underdog Stoke City. Do you have any idea how hard it is to beat a 5 star team with 2 star team? DO YOU?! Well, distracted by the news, I forgot to pause the game, and of course City equalized late. I eventually lost the game in penalties. Fucking Byrnes.
You already know the final trade, but in case you didn’t, here’s the deal in its entirety: Mat Latos for Yasmani Grandal, Yonder Alonso, Edinson Volquez and Brad Boxberger. Basically a whole lot of meh. Now, I don’t want this to come off as second guessing but I hated the deal when it happened. I know there’s a whole other angle involving the local media, his behavior/attitude and other bullshit. I hated it from a baseball perspective. That’s it.
Of all the meh the Padres got in exchange for their best pitcher, Yonder Alonso is definitely the meh-iest. Sure, Volquez was awful and Boxberger hasn’t done anything but neither were expected to be building blocks for the next 5-7 years. Yonder was, and through two full seasons, he’s been only slightly better than replacement level (1.4WAR in 2012 and 1.2 in 2013, via Baseball Reference). Despite his home slugging percentage increasing (.398 to .421), his overall slugging decreased (.393 to .368). Relatively old as a rookie, Yonder Alonso now approaches his age 27 season and what should be his prime – unfortunately he’s got a bad body and plays first base like he’s been attacked by a pack of raccoons.
What makes this all worse is that Josh Byrnes refuses to move on. He can’t. He’s invested way too much to give up after just two years. And sure, Yonder could still improve as a player. But when? His defense didn’t improve in year 2 (age 26) and he’s never going to be valuable on the bases. All of his value is in his bat, which means he’s gonna have to fucking rake just to be an everyday regular. I just don’t see it happening. I understand Byrnes wanting to see more. If he dumps Yonder then all he has to show for the Latos trade is a catcher coming off a serious knee injury, with perhaps the top catching prospect in baseball breathing down his neck. It doesn’t matter how good Yonder looks with a fedora or a suit that’s clearly two sizes too small. The best GMs are the ones who recognize their mistakes and move on. I suggest Byrnes do just that.
I contribute when I contribute. Other thoughts on things that I think about can be found here. That’s a terrible “outro”. I’ll try to work on it.