The offseason has barely begun and the rumors are already starting that the Cincinnati Reds are willing to listen to trade offers on starting pitcher Luis Castillo. These rumors were persistent all offseason last winter, too, and when opening day rolled around, Castillo was still donning a Cincinnati Reds jersey.
Jon Morosi of MLB Network is reporting today that Cincinnati’s front office is willing to engage in talks for a trade of Luis Castillo. Let’s preface this by saying that, yes, the Reds absolutely should be willing to engage in talks for a trade of Castillo. They should be willing to listen to talks for anyone. You simply do not know what the other side is going to say.
With that said: Luis Castillo is very, very good and it should take a whole lot of something in return to acquire him. The 2021 season didn’t quite go as he, or the Reds, had likely hoped. The first two months of the season saw Castillo post an ERA of 7.22. But from June through the end of the season, spanning 22 starts, the right-handed starter was exactly who everyone had expected him to be. In those 135.1 innings he posted a 2.73 ERA with just 11 home runs allowed, 52 walks, and he struck out 144 batters.
Not only is Luis Castillo an outstanding pitcher, but he also has two years of team control left. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2023 season. MLB Trade Rumors projects Castillo to earn $7,600,000 in the 2022 season in arbitration. That’s probably a third of what he’s worth, it not less. A team acquiring him not only gets an outstanding starter they can put at or near the top of their rotation, but they also get a bargain on his contract for the next two seasons.
Cincinnati may be looking to shed more salary, like we’ve seen with the team trading catcher Tucker Barnhart and placing starting pitcher Wade Miley on waivers. While the team could have simply not picked up the option on either and allowed them to become free agents, by choosing a trade and a waiver move they didn’t have to pay the buyouts on either deal and saved $1,500,000 between the two deals. Don’t read this as any suggestion of the moves being good, smart, or ideal – just that on the ledger it saved the team money. And when you are aligning payroll to resources, that matters.