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Latos avoids arbitration, signs two-year contract

Right-hander's deal worth $11.5 million, includes multiple award bonuses

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GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- The Reds and starting pitcher Mat Latos avoided arbitration on Tuesday when the right-hander signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract through the 2014 season.

Latos, 25, netted a significant raise from the $550,000 he earned in 2012 after being eligible for arbitration for the first time. He is represented by the Bledsoe Brothers.

When numbers were exchanged last month, Latos filed for $4.7 million, while the club's offer was $4.15 million. The new two-year deal includes multiple award bonuses.

During his first season with Cincinnati in '12, Latos was 14-4 with a 3.48 ERA, 64 walks and 185 strikeouts. His career-high 33 starts tied for the National League lead. His 209 1/3 innings were also a career high and he threw two complete games back-to-back on June 25 and 30.

The previous winter, Latos was the Reds' prime acquisition as he came over in a trade that sent first baseman Yonder Alonso, veteran starter Edinson Volquez, catcher Yasmani Grandal and reliever Brad Boxberger to the Padres.

Latos got off to a slow start, but came on strong to finish 9-2 with a 2.43 ERA over his final 19 starts. The Reds had a 23-10 record in games he started and averaged 4.45 runs per game.

During a checkered postseason, Latos emerged as a Game 1 savior in the NL Division Series at San Francisco. Following ace Johnny Cueto's exit because of injury in the first inning, Latos –- the original Game 3 starter -– entered in the third and provided four innings of stellar emergency relief.

However, Latos did not fare as well in the winner-take-all Game 5 at Great American Ball Park. After looking stellar for five innings, he allowed six runs in the sixth inning during a 6-4 Reds loss.

With six of the seven cases resolved, only right-hander Homer Bailey is pending in his arbitration situation with the Reds.

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Mark My Word, and follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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