Let’s start off by noting that Cincinnati Reds General Manager Nick Krall said last night that the Reds were planning on having All-Star pitcher Luis Castillo in their rotation this season and that the current rumors that he had all but been traded to the New York Yankees were false. The rumors began with an off-hand comment on Friday about an old trade rumor by Jim Bowden and it went wild from there. This morning, though, Jon Heyman of MLB Network noted that Cincinnati – when the two teams did have talks about a potential trade – asked for shortstop Gleyber Torres and more in return for Castillo.
Luis Castillo has three years of team control remaining before he becomes a free agent, hitting the open market after the 2023 season. He’s coming off of the last two seasons where he’s thrown 260.2 innings with a 3.35 ERA and 315 strikeouts to go along with a 140 ERA+.
Gleyber Torres has spent three seasons in the Major Leagues. He was an All-Star as a rookie in 2018 when he hit .271/.340/.480. And he was an All-Star in 2019 when he hit .278/.337/.535 with 38 home runs. But the shortstop struggled in 2020 in his 42 games played as he hit just .243/.356/.368. His plate discipline improved quite a bit, but when he made contact he did far less damage than he had in the previous two seasons. Like Castillo, he comes with some long term control as he wouldn’t become a free agent until after the 2024 season.
Fangraphs recently published their trade value list and had Luis Castillo as the 32nd most valuable player in trade value in baseball. They, however, had Gleyber Torres as the 8th most valuable player via trade in baseball.
Both players have big time upside. For Castillo, you don’t have to squint very hard to see a potential Cy Young Award winning pitcher. He’s not there yet, but he’s not far off, either. Torres hit 38 home runs as a shortstop in 2019 as a 22-year-old. Need we say more about what kind of upside he possesses? Swapping those two players in a deal would be a proverbial slobberknocker. The people would be talking.
Of course, this seem all for naught. Nick Krall said there was nothing to the rumor on Sunday night. Jon Heyman repeated that this morning, noting that the Yankees said no to the request for Torres and that it’s very likely Luis Castillo stays in Cincinnati. The Reds asked high, as they should have, for one of their stud pitchers. The ask was too high for the Yankees. It seems that for now both teams are just fine with where they stand, keeping their All-Star player and looking toward other options.