If it’s not literally nailed down at Great American Ballpark it appears that the Cincinnati Reds are open to swapping it out for something else. This morning, Jon Heyman of MLB Network, reported that on top of Sonny Gray still being discussed in trades with other teams around Major League Baseball, that the Reds are also willing to talk with teams about trading starting pitcher Luis Castillo.
It seems very clear that the ownership has asked General Manager Nick Krall to cut payroll. The team moved closer Raisel Iglesias (and even sent Los Angeles a little bit of cash to do so) and non-tendered Archie Bradley, Curt Casali, Brian Goodwin, and R.J. Alaniz with only the latter being a move that didn’t seem to be one directly related to saving money.
With arguably the best rotation in the National League in 2020, the Reds are without free agents Trevor Bauer (still unsigned) and Anthony DeSclafani (signed with the San Francisco Giants). And they are now also discussing moving All-Star’s Sonny Gray and or Luis Castillo. Gray has one of the most friendly contracts among high end pitchers in the game. Castillo is still in his arbitration portion of his contract, so he’s not being paid market rates at all and is still “cheap” when it comes to what he makes. According to MLB Trade Rumors projections, depending on how arbitration plays out based on the way in which the 2020 season is handled in the process, Castillo is set to make between $3M and $6M in the 2021 season.
In three of his four seasons in the Major Leagues, Luis Castillo has posted an ERA of 3.40 or better. In 2018 his ERA was 4.30, giving him a career mark of 3.62 in his 90 big league starts. The right-handed starter isn’t a free agent until after the 2023 season, meaning he’s going to pitch for someone for the next three seasons before he reaches free agency. That kind of player should bring back a big return in a trade, but that’s also the kind of player that a team who is trying to actually win baseball games shouldn’t be looking at trading away.
After two offseasons in a row where the Cincinnati Reds were making moves in an effort to try and compete the following season, it now seems that the Reds are having a “going out of business” sale with anything they have of value. Things aren’t marked down to 90% off yet, but they’ve got the banner up on the building and the employees at the corner spinning their “sale” signs for 8 blocks in any direction of the ballpark, too.