In what might be a preview of the upcoming off-season, the Cincinnati Reds today placed pitchers Mat Latos and Mike Leake on revocable waivers yesterday, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports via Twitter:
Sources: #Reds’ Latos, Leake went on revocable waivers yesterday. Both likely to be claimed, neither figures to be traded.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) August 27, 2014
Both hurlers are 26 years old, reasonably priced and arbitration-eligible for the final time, which means they offer one more year of team control before hitting free agency next season. They have both pitched well this season, though Latos has been slowed by injuries, and both should be attractive to many teams.
Given all that, it’s unlikely that either Latos or Leake will clear waivers and give the Reds a chance to shop them to every other team before the August 31 waiver trade deadline. If a team does claim one of the starters, the Reds would have 48 hours to make a deal with that team or pull the player back from waivers.
The most likely scenario is that both pitchers will be claimed and the Reds will immediately pull them back, setting up potential arbitration hearings this winter. With four of five starting pitchers (Homer Bailey being the exception) in line to become free agents after 2015, Cincinnati will almost certainly trade one or more of them before the start of next spring training.
The least valuable of the four for the Reds going forward is probably Alfredo Simon, whose flukish first half seems like ancient history in light of his recent struggles. Of course, he is probably the least valuable to other teams, as well, at least as a starter, so Leake, Latos or ace Johnny Cueto give the Reds the best chance of bringing back big offensive talent in a deal.
For now, it’s clear that the Reds are done in 2014, and if they could somehow swing a deal with a desperate fringe contender at an inflated return price, all the better.