Reds acquire starter Latos from Padres

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Reds acquire starter Latos from Padres

Cincinnati has acquired starter Mat Latos from the San Diego Padres in exchange for prospects Yonder Alonso, Yasmani Grandal and Brad Boxberger along with starter Edinson Volquez, according to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.

Latos, 24, is under team control through 2015. Over the last two seasons, he owns a 3.21 ERA with 374 strikeouts, 112 walks and 32 home runs allowed -- certainly encouraging numbers for someone going from a pitcher's park in San Diego to a hitter-friendly one in Cincinnati. That high-strikeout, low-walk success Latos has had will play anywhere, not just at Petco Park.

In four career starts against the Cubs, Latos has struck out 30, walked eight and allowed one home run with an ERA of 3.47. Over those 23 13 innings, Cubs hitters have just a .659 OPS.

The biggest knock on Latos is that he hasn't shown the kind of durability teams would like to see out of an ace. He's never thrown over 200 innings in a season and has only averaged about six innings per start in the last two seasons.

Regardless, only Pittsburgh and Houston had a lower cumulative pitching staff WAR than Cincinnati in 2011. This is a major upgrade for the Reds, to say the least.

The Reds gave up a ton in this trade -- Alonso was blocked by Joey Votto, so he's not a major loss, but Grandal is a big-time catching prospect while Boxberger, a reliever, has posted some gaudy strikeout numbers in the minors.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs wrapping up spring training

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Cubs wrapping up spring training

Today on the Sports Talk Live podcast, David Kaplan, Seth Gruen, Teddy Greenstein, and Mark Grote discussed Addison Russell’s injury, if Szczur or La Stella should get the Cubs final roster spot, if the Bulls would be better off facing the Celtics or Cavs in the first round of the playoffs, and Jay Cutler’s butt all over the internet.

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

Is Addison Russell still on track for Opening Night?

MESA, Ariz. – Addison Russell believes he will be ready for Opening Night. Right now, Cubs manager Joe Maddon says his All-Star shortstop starting the season on the disabled list is an option that "I'm not considering."

But Russell hasn't played in a Cactus League game since March 22 and the Cubs have only three exhibitions left before facing the St. Louis Cardinals on national TV. The new 10-day disabled list would also allow the Cubs to backdate Russell's injury (stiff back) to March 30 and create a degree of roster flexibility. 

"We're trying to start the season out on a good note and definitely in St. Louis," Russell said Tuesday. "That's kind of the goal, but if the back doesn't feel well until then, maybe that's something that we'll have to do. With the way that I'm feeling, I don't think that's necessary."

The Cubs did get Ben Zobrist (stiff neck) back into the lineup that afternoon against the San Francisco Giants at Sloan Park. Russell estimated he's around "95 percent" and hoped to play Wednesday before the Cubs leave Arizona and fly out for two exhibition games against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.      

"We're not trying to take it too quick," Russell said. "Missing a few games here in the spring is a lot better than a few games in the season. I've talked to Joe and there's no hurry back."

Five days out from what should be an electric atmosphere at Busch Stadium, Maddon said athletic trainer PJ Mainville didn't sound concerned about Russell's back issue.

"PJ felt very strongly that he's going to be fine over the next couple days," Maddon said. "From Addison's perspective, knowing baseball players who've been doing so well, you take a couple days off, you're concerned that you're going to lose it. 

"I'm certain he's going to be fine. Actually, I'm OK with him getting some rest right now. The biggest thing is: Medically, is he going to be fine? Everybody thinks that he is, so I'm not concerned."