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Mat Latos in 2015 a tale of two seasons

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The deal isn't yet official, but in the short term they headliner of the three-team trade with the Marlins and Braves from the Dodgers' perspective is Mat Latos, who will probably slot in as either the club's third or fourth starter.

On the surface, Latos is 4-7 with a 4.48 ERA in 16 starts, but dig a little deeper and a different picture emerges. Latos has a 3.35 FIP, and the 27-year-old hasn't posted an ERA over 3.48 since his rookie season of 2009.

But in 2015, the free-agent-to-be has had a tale of two seasons.

Latos missed three weeks in May and June on the disabled list with left knee inflammation. Before the DL stint, Latos was 1-4 with a 6.12 ERA in nine starts, with 36 strikeouts and 16 walks in 42⅔ innings. His strikeout rate was 18.8 percent, his walk rate was 8.3 percent, and his average fastball was 91.69 mph, per Brooks Baseball.

Since returning from the DL Latos has been much better with six quality starts in his seven outings, going 3-3 with a 2.96 ERA with 43 strikeouts and nine walks in 45⅔ innings. His strikeout rate jumped to 23.9 percent, his walk rate dropped to 5.0 percent, and his average fastball improved to 93.35 mph, closer to his peak form from 2010-2013.

"When you look at his quality, and the execution pitch after pitch, that was what was huge. He threw some cutters that they were swinging over by a foot. It's good to see him at 100 percent," Marlins manager Dan Jennings said in June, per Joe Frisaro of MLB.com. "I think you're truly seeing now the Mat Latos that the Marlins traded for, and it's a huge boost for us."

Latos is 27, and has two and hopefully three months on a bigger stage to make a push into free agency.

At the very least, we'll get an up-close look at whatever the hell "The Critter" is.