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CHICAGO WHITE SOX
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Acquired LHP Dan Jennings from the Marlins in exchange for RHP Andre Rienzo. [12/11]

You might remember Jennings as the other Marlin struck in the head with a baseball late in the year. Unlike Giancarlo Stanton, Jennings returned to action before the season ended and, by doing so, ensured that he wouldn't finish with a sub-1 ERA. If he makes the White Sox roster, he ought to serve as the club's second lefty, behind Zach Duke. Consider that a good thing, because Jennings fits the role. A fastball-slider pitcher with a closed landing, Jennings has somehow posted reverse splits over his first 100 big-league innings. There's no obvious reason to expect that trend to continue, so don't be alarmed if Robin Ventura asks Jennings to face more lefties than righties.—R.J. Anderson

DETROIT TIGERS
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Acquired RHP Alfredo Simon from the Reds in exchange for INF-R Eugenio Suarez and RHP Jonathon Crawford. [12/11]

Like with the Shane Greene trade, Simon's acquisition is a test of faith for the Tigers; in short, is he as good as they think he is based on a limited sample?

Simon, 34 come May and a free agent come winter, returned to the rotation last season for the first time since 2011. Unlike in his previous tries with the Orioles, Simon found success in starting with the Reds, as he tossed 196 innings, posted a 3.44 ERA and 2.27 strikeout-to-walk rate, and earned a spot on the NL All-Star team. But because of his past and his shaky second half, it's unclear just how genuine his gains were.

This is where the faith comes into play. An optimist looks at Simon and sees a downmarket version of Rick Porcello; a pessimist sees a guy who, despite a nice, flukey run in the rotation, ought to return to the bullpen where he can eat meaningless innings. Lastly there's the Tigers, who probably fall in line closer to the optimist's perspective. In Dave Dombrowski's estimation, Simon almost surely has the body, power arsenal, and ground-ball-generating ways to fit in at the back of a rotation.

If Dombrowski and the optimists are correct, then the Tigers did get a different, older interpretation of Porcello. That might not be ideal—not when it means losing two youngsters—but it does mean the Tigers shouldn't be much worse for '15. —R.J. Anderson

CINCINNATI REDS
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Acquired INF-R Eugenio Suarez and RHP Jonathon Crawford from the Tigers in exchange for RHP Alfredo Simon. [12/11]

The Reds trimmed more payroll by moving Simon, who would've received a raise on his $1.5 million salary from last season. In exchange, they received two young potential contributors.

You've seen Suarez before. He's the 23-year-old the Tigers used in a timeshare at shortstop with Andrew Romine last season. That's not the best way to sell a player as valuable, but the truth is Suarez should have a career in reserve thanks to a strong arm and competent defense on the left side. The outlook isn't as rosy offensively, and he struck out far too often for a player with modest power potential. Still, Suarez could probably do a decent Zack Cozart impression if the Reds asked. And if they don't, he should be a useful bench player for years to come. —R.J. Anderson

Crawford was selected in the first round by the Tigers in 2013 as a junior, after an impressive sophomore season pushed him up draft boards. As a sophomore, he was routinely 94-97 miles-per-hour, touching 98 with the fastball and a sharp, vertical slider. The velocity dropped slightly in his junior campaign, and his changeup did not take the step forward scouts had hoped for.

Shorter than his listed 6-foot-2, Crawford's stature and lack of a changeup might relegate him to the bullpen. He has stiff, deliberate mechanics, which haven't allowed the command profile to come to fruition, as Crawford is relatively athletic. Moreover, in his first full-season stint with Low-A West Michigan, his stuff continued to take a step back. The fastball velocity settled to 90-93, touching 94 mph, with some arm-side run. His slider is sharp in the mid-80s, but the changeup borders on unusable. For a first round pick and 23-year-old SEC product, the numbers were not impressive at the Low-A level. His strikeout to walk ratio was about 1.5, and looking deeper into the game logs, there was a two-month, 48-inning stretch in which he whiffed 19 batters.

In all, Crawford needs to take big strides forward in command while bringing along the changeup in order to stay out of the bullpen. —Jordan Gorosh

MIAMI MARLINS
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Acquired RHP Mat Latos from Cincinnati Reds in exchange for RHP Anthony DeSclafani and C-R Chad Wallach [12/11]
Acquired RHP Andre Rienzo from Chicago White Sox in exchange for LHP Dan Jennings [12/11]

It’s not in the same league as say, the Matt Kemp deal, but few trades this offseason hinge on the questionable health of the central component more than the Marlins’ acquisition of Mat Latos.

So first some good news if you’re a fan of the Fishes.

Wait, I thought you said good news.

I did. As far as five-year veterans on the mound go, this is not a horrific injury history, which is generally the best sign of a not horrific injury future. And within the category of injuries, most of these are the kind you would want to have. A lot of them are either bumps and bruises or non-recurring injuries to non-scary parts of the body. The shoulder never came up after the minors. The elbow was never an issue until 2013. And while it became an issue a lot after that, there are even degrees of elbow injuries, and these didn’t appear all that scary. You’ll take surgery for bone spurs better than you’ll take a lot of other ones.

He pitched okay last year after the late start and before the elbow led to a premature end. He was never lit up, lasted at least five innings in every start and was hardly the reason for the Reds’ struggles.

But in a year, he went from a model of perfect health even through the bumps and bruises—he had 31+ starts every year from 2010-2013—to the question mark he is today.

His velocity was down. Way down. From 93.9 mph on his four-seamer in 2013 to 91.8 in 2014. He started throwing his slider—the pitch that launched a Wall Street Journal feature just a year before—much less. He replaced a lot of its usage with a splitter, which became his go-to pitch to right-handers when looking for a strikeout.

His strikeout rate, already dropping in the healthy years for San Diego and then Cincinnati, plummeted. From 9.2, 8.6, 8.0, 8.0 per 9 to 6.5 in 2014.

And then there’s the most distressing fact of all if you’re using the “when healthy” performance: In a market where second-tier spenders are willing to get creative to bring in starting pitching that they don’t have to pay nine figures for, the Reds were willing to give up his final year at $7.25 million (and the option to give a qualifying offer if he has a 2010-13 Mat Latos season) for a rather uninspiring package. That’s a data point in itself.

Surgery for bone chips removal followed by a flexor mass strain followed by a bone bruise might not be Tommy John surgery, but to the team that knew him best, that might have been enough damage to Latos’ moneymaker to think past performance is just the past.

His arrival on the Miami roster created somewhat of a full house in the Miami rotation, but not at the expense of anything where even a small bounceback from 2014 for Latos wouldn’t be an improvement. He’ll join Henderson Alvarez, Nathan Eovaldi, Jarred Cosart and some combination of Brad Hand, Tom Koehler and Dan Haren’s ghost, with that position to be replaced by Jose Fernandez when he gets the green light.

With the acquisition of Andre Rienzo from the White Sox for Dan Jennings, it turned into a little bit more of a traffic jam. There will be depth if Fernandez takes longer than expected, Latos is a no-go or a host of other things that can quickly knock an eight-man unit down a few mans. They could also trade one of the spot 5-6-7-8 candidates if the value of just getting a starter to eat innings rises thanks to some spring training injuries on a bad team.

It’s hard to picture Rienzo being much more than just depth on this team, either. He’s shown nothing in two stints with the White Sox, with bad home run and walk rates and, perhaps worse, improvement in neither of those categories even as he started throwing more of his cutter. They gave up a pretty decent lefty reliever with his own walk problems, but it’s hard to see the logic in even giving up that. Either they value the starting pitching depth that much on a team that already has it, or somebody found something fixable that the White Sox missed.

Either way, the Marlins rotation should be in pretty good shape for 2014. They should improve from finishing 12th in the National League in ERA. While much of the back end is pretty interchangeable, a good and healthy Latos is a big upgrade over that group, and has the potential to attract a good haul at the deadline if they’re out of contention. A bad Latos didn’t cost them that much.

DeSclafani probably wouldn’t have cracked this rotation and may do so on the Reds, who are now without Latos and Alfredo Simon, with Mike Leake rumored to be expendable as well. He wasn’t nearly as bad as his 6.27 ERA last year would have you think, but there isn’t much to get excited about there. If the Reds do piece together a starting rotation again, he may find success in the bullpen at some point in what still should be six more full years of team control. —Zachary Levine

Salary and pitch data from Cot’s MLB Contracts and Brooks Baseball, respectively.