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Pirates pass on Mat Latos, who signs with White Sox

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Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

The White Sox have officially signed Mat Latos to a one-year, $3 million deal. That the Pirates didn't sign Latos at that price is apparently something some Bucs fans are upset about, so let's discuss it.

1) Latos would be a reclamation project, and no one is better suited to determine who the Pirates' reclamation projects ought to be than the Pirates themselves. The Bucs evidently thought Neftali Feliz was worth $3.9 million and Juan Nicasio $3 million, but apparently that Latos was not worth a similar amount. Admittedly, the case for Latos as a reclamation project is related to things like him underperforming his peripherals last year, and you don't need to be Ray Searage to see that. But this probably is a case where I'd trust the Pirates' evaluations, to a degree. You can't even say that the Bucs passed on Latos because they're cheap, since they acquired three pitchers this offseason who will make as much or more next season than he will.

2) Latos has a reputation as a bad teammate. As we've discussed here before, it's hard to say what that might mean for a team acquiring him -- A.J. Burnett had an uneven rep before he came to Pittsburgh, and he left a hero. But the value of Latos' contract seems to have been affected by his reputation, and it's hard to blame the Pirates if they were scared away from Latos for that reason.

Hey, who knows. Latos is just 28 and had a long history of productivity before last season. Maybe he'll be great. And of course we're all still trying to find out how the Pirates ended up with Ryan Vogelsong as the solution to their rotation problems. Of the two, Latos certainly looks like the better pitcher. But I can't fault the Pirates for failing to sign him, particularly given his clubhouse issues.