ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick reported earlier that the Chicago White Sox have agreed to a deal with free-agent right-hander Mat Latos. His one-year, $3 million guarantee (via Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago) is a minimal commitment for the Sox but certainly not without a fair share of uncertainty.
On one hand, Latos is only 28. And injury issues aside, there's little doubt over Latos' upside and overall talent. In other cases, similar players usually secure upwards of $5 million. Latos, however, has proven troublesome in past clubhouses, on top of falling woefully short of expectations on several notable occasions. Most recently (sidestepping his one-week obligation with the Angels at the end of last season here), Latos made only five starts and one relief appearance for the Los Angeles Dodgers and was 0–3 while allowing 19 runs in 24 1/3 innings before the Dodgers released him.
Despite the gamble, Latos remains one of the stronger comeback candidates of the offseason. Aside from his rookie season and injury troubles, Latos has tallied a 3.27 ERA with 8.2 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 in over 900 innings between 2010 and 2014.
Here are some of the other rumors making their way around the majors today:
Tampa Bay Rays: Crasnick also reports that the Rays are a "long shot" to land Ian Desmond, with Crasnick citing Tampa Bay's reluctance to surrender a draft pick as the primary reason why. Additionally, since the Rays are in "bargain shopping mode," any deal struck with Desmond would likely be well below his pre-winter expectations. In any event, it appears that earlier reports linking Tampa Bay to the free-agent shortstop have cooled dramatically.
Houston Astros: The Astros have won their arbitration hearing against catcher Jason Castro, reports MLB Network's Jon Heyman via Twitter. Castro filed at $5.25 million but will earn $5 million in the upcoming season. Castro, who earned $4 million last season, disappointed in both 2015 and 2014 after bursting onto the scene in 2013. Since his breakout campaign, he's posted an underwhelming .217/.284/.365 slashline with 25 home runs.
Miami Marlins: Pitching seems annually at the center of Miami's radar. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Marlins are among the group of teams interested in Tim Lincecum, who is scheduled for a showcase later in February. It looks increasingly unlikely that the former ace, now 31, will bring his velocity back up, but that assessment will become clearer in his return from hip surgery.
Yovani Gallardo: In late January, SB Nation's Chris Cotillo tweeted that the free agent's final three teams had been narrowed down to the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and Houston. On Monday, however, Cotillo added that the Orioles are still one of three teams in the hunt, but that the Rockies no longer appear to be one of them. Additionally, now that the Astros have signed Doug Fister, they don't seem a likely candidate anymore either.