Jon Heyman, who seems to tweet out that the Cincinnati Reds are interested in trading anyone with a pulse nearly every day over the last two offseasons, is doing it again. This morning the reporter from MLB Network said that the Reds front office is still fielding interest in starting pitchers Luis Castillo, Tyler Mahle, and Sonny Gray. But not only did he say that, he said that there’s a chance for a trade to happen today.
Update: MLB Network’s Jon Morosi is also reporting that the Texas Rangers have reached out to Cincinnati about Castillo, Mahle, or Gray as they continue to work on adding to their rotation for 2022.
Of course, it’s been over a year now since he was first suggesting that Cincinnati was potentially moving guys like Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray, and well, they both pitched for the Reds all of the 2021 season. This offseason has been a little bit different than last year, but both did seem to begin with what appeared to be the giving away of players in order to save some salary.
With all of that said, today is a very specific day. And it’s an important day, too. There is almost assuredly going to be a point during the day in which the owners lock the players out and all transactions will cease. That means no trades (unless they involve minor league players that are not on the 40-man roster). It means no signings of players to big league contracts (guys can still sign minor league deals). Teams and agents aren’t supposed to engage in contract talks.
So if teams are trying to get something accomplished, today may be the day to get it done. While we don’t know how long a lockout could last, teams certainly would prefer to have a better idea of what their team will look like before they enter one. That allows them to plan better, especially if the lockout is going to last a bit. Even if it’s not expected to impact games, if it gets into February before a deal is struck and agreed to, it’s going to cause a rush before spring training as teams try to fill out their rosters at the last second and everything will be truncated. Getting a deal done today makes all of that a little bit easier to handle down the road.
Of course, if the Reds were to trade one of those three pitchers, it would be a huge story. Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray have been All-Star caliber pitchers in their time with Cincinnati. Tyler Mahle was better than both of them in 2021 and has been getting better each year over the last several seasons. You would imagine that the return would be noteworthy in any deal.
Maybe this all is just another way of saying “The Reds are still answering the phone when teams call” and Jon Heyman is once again just tweeting to get people engaged. We’ll find out together.