WASHINGTON — The Nationals have signed right-handed starter Mat Latos to a minor league deal, manager Dusty Baker confirmed.
The 28-year-old was released by the White Sox two weeks ago after going 6-2 with a 4.62 ERA in his first 11 starts.
Latos has pitched for four other teams — the Angels, Dodgers, Marlins and Reds — aside from the White Sox over the past four seasons, and played for Dusty Baker in Cincinnati from 2012 to 2013.
“I know there’s more in there,” Baker told reporters before Wednesday’s game against the Mets. “And he’s not old and he’s not hurt anymore. There’s more in there and I’ve seen it. I’m not the one that signed him; I was the one that they asked, ‘Would it be worth the chance?’ The organization came to me about it. I mean he was 14-4 one year for me and 14-and-something another year for me.”
Latos will have to get in shape if he wants a chance to pitch for the Nationals, Baker explained.
“Mat’s trying to get in the best shape possible, so he’s going to get in shape first, in tip-top shape, which I asked him to do over the winter when I was talking to him about possibly signing him then,” Baker said. “Because you know I’m big on guys getting in shape, because you perform better, your mind’s clear — it just looks better.”
Latos is 70-57 with a 3.57 ERA over his eight-year Major League career. Signing him gives the Nationals pitching depth, Baker says, “One of the same reasons we brought in [Bronson Arroyo], who was hurt and who’s pitching again now.”
“And so that gives us some depth in case something happens to someone. If nothing else, September’s right around the corner.”