See, I know that title pulled in a few people expecting to see tantalizing pictures of Dallas, but since I have you here, I want to talk about Mat, and what the Reds can expect the market to be for a long-term deal.
Recently kcgard and baden commented about how strange it is that Homer is getting all of this attention regarding his extension, but that Latos's deal has not really been talked about. I agree that this is pretty strange, considering the value he brings to this roster.
Among pitchers who qualified for the ERA title, only 3 pitchers have had an ERA+ of 115 (an ERA 15% better than the league average, controlling for park effects) every year for the past 4 years. You can probably guess who they are: Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, and Justin Verlander. What might surprise you is that there are only 8 pitchers who have had 3 seasons of that quality from 2010-2013: CC Sabathia, Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, Gio Gonzalez, Jared Weaver, Matt Cain, Hiroki Kuroda, and Mat Latos.
Now, Latos has not had a phenomenal, Cy Young-contending season like 9 of the other 10 players on that list. Only Kuroda and Latos have failed to place in the top 6 of Cy Young voting. But that is still a pretty impressive list, one that does not contain aces like David Price, Adam Wainwright, Jon Lester, and Zack Greinke. But that type of consistent skill is bound to be worth something on the open market. While on B-R, I looked at those current players most statistically similar to Latos and researched the timing and amount of their contracts:
Chad Billingsley – 3 year contract ($9M, $11M, $12M) with a $14M team option (buyout $3M). Timing equivalent to Latos: The current offseason
Yovani Gallardo – 3 year contract ($5.5M, $7.75M, $11.25M) with a $13M team option (buyout $600k). Timing equivalent to Latos: Last offseason
Johnny Cueto - 3 year contract ($5.4M, $7.4M, $10M) with a $10M team option (buyout $800k). Timing equivalent to Latos: Last offseason
After looking at these deals, I would like to see them offer something similar to the one for Billingsley deal, with a higher team option but smaller buyout: 3 year contract ($9M, $11.5M, $13M) with a $15M team option (buyout $2M).