The Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds have had some talks about a trade for Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo. Jon Morosi of MLB Network is reporting that the talks are in the preliminary stages and the price remains high. This report comes less than a week after it was reported that Cincinnati had Castillo off of the table in trade talks.
The trade certainly would make sense for the Angels who are trying to build around arguably the two best players in baseball in Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani, both of whom are entering their prime years. Los Angeles also signed starter Noah Syndergaard this offseason, and they are reportedly one of the finalists to sign Max Scherzer. They are clearly trying to push their chips into the middle of the table for 2022.
Perhaps their willingness to meet the asking price for Luis Castillo hinges on what Scherzer decides. If the Angels land Scherzer then perhaps their need for Castillo lessens. But if he opts to sign elsewhere it may put Los Angeles in a scenario where they move forward with other options and makes Castillo priority number one.
For Cincinnati there are reasons to trade Luis Castillo, but none of them should make Reds fans feel good about 2022. If the team trades Castillo it’s highly unlikely that whoever they replace him with will perform as well as Castillo should be expected to. And even if the Reds were to acquire quality players in return the odds that it’s someone(s) that will be very good in 2022 aren’t great given that the Angels likely aren’t moving those types since they are clearing going for it in 2022.
Cincinnati trading Castillo would likely lower payroll, or allow the team to spend the projected $7,600,000 in another area. While not impossible, it’s very unlikely that you could spend that money on the market and get more production than you would get from Castillo.
Trading Castillo would likely signal that Cincinnati is truly building for the future without doing much to try and catch up to the division leaders in 2022. Depending on where you fall on the outlook that may anger you or it may be fine with you (or at least the idea of trying to build for the future).
With the loss of Wade Miley already this offseason, a trade of Luis Castillo would leave open a whole lot of starting pitcher innings to fill for Cincinnati. They do have internal options with prospects Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, Reiver Sanmartin, and a guy like Tony Santillan who spent much of the 2021 season in the big league bullpen but has a long history of starting. As talented and as touted as some of the guys in that group are, though, they aren’t likely to match what Miley and Castillo brought in 2021 or what they are likely to bring in 2022. But at some point they need to also start making the transition into getting those guys their opportunities. At the start of the 2022 season does feel like it may be a tad early on most of them, though.