Cubs

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.

Ken Rosenthal says there's ‘not a chance’ Cubs re-sign Nicholas Castellanos

Ken Rosenthal says there's ‘not a chance’ Cubs re-sign Nicholas Castellanos

With MLB’s Winter Meetings kicking off Monday, the chances of the Cubs re-signing free agent outfielder Nicholas Castellanos aren’t looking great.

According to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (subscription required), there’s “not a chance, at least for the moment,” the two sides reunite this offseason. Rosenthal cited how the Cubs are telling representatives of even low-budget free agents the organization needs to clear payroll space before entering serious negotiations.

The Cubs’ 2020 luxury tax payroll is projected to be $214 million (per Roster Resource), over MLB’s $208 million threshold. Should their payroll exceed $208 million, the Cubs will be penalized for their overages for a second straight season. Thus, the organization is looking to get under the threshold this offseason, which signing Castellanos would complicate.

Rosenthal’s report brings back memories of last offseason; the Cubs were handcuffed by a self-imposed budget due to their payroll being right around the luxury tax threshold. They were economic in their spending, adding low-cost free agents Daniel Descalso, Tony Barnette, Brad Brach, Xavier Cedeno and Kendall Graveman. Whether it be due to injury, ineffectiveness or some combination of the two, those players had minimal-to-no impacts on the 2019 Cubs.

Castellanos, on the other hand, was an integral piece of the Cubs last season after they acquired him from the Tigers at the trade deadline. The 27-year-old slashed .321/.356/.646, hitting 16 home runs and 21 doubles in 51 games. That performance improved Castellanos' value entering free agency, and multiple teams are reportedly pursuing him — including the Cubs.

Could the Cubs shed enough salary to open space for Castellanos on the payroll? Sure, but they’re looking to upgrade their second base, center field and high-leverage relief production. As great as Castellanos was with the Cubs, they ultimately may not have the payroll space to bring him back.

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Kyle Schwarber tops off big 2019 by marrying longtime girlfriend Paige Hartman

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USA TODAY

Kyle Schwarber tops off big 2019 by marrying longtime girlfriend Paige Hartman

2019 has been a momentous year for Kyle Schwarber.

On the diamond, Schwarber had a career season, posting personal bests in home runs (38) and RBIs (92). Something clicked for him offensively post-All-Star break, as he slashed .280/.366/.631 while hitting 20 homers.

Schwarber topped that off in a big way Saturday, marrying longtime girlfriend and highschool sweetheart Paige Hartman. Take a look at some visuals from the event:

Here's to a lifetime of happiness for the couple!

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