In what feels like a kick to the stomach, on the day that Luis Castillo is set to make his 2022 season debut after missing the first month of the season with a sore shoulder, Peter Gammons is reporting that the Cincinnati Reds have changed their tune and are now willing to talk trades for both Castillo and Tyler Mahle.

Perhaps this is just another rumor in the long, long line of “Luis Castillo may be involved in Reds trade talks” that have been floated around for parts of the last two years that never came to fruition. Castillo is under contract for the 2022 and 2023 seasons. He is making $7,350,000 this season, his second year of arbitration. Castillo, who has a career ERA of 3.72 in 123 career starts, has shown long stretches in various seasons where he could be confused with a legitimate #1 starter. He hasn’t quite put it all together in a full season, but that’s also simply nitpicking. Castillo would be a welcome addition to any and all rotations around Major League Baseball.

Of course, his being a welcome addition to any and all rotations around Major League Baseball is exactly why the Reds shouldn’t trade him and instead should be looking to keep him around. But as we’ve seen in the last eight months, the Cincinnati ownership group has been trying to cut payroll instead of trying to get better at baseball, so who knows exactly what they will do with the best pitcher the organization has had over the last decade.

Tyler Mahle has struggled to begin this season. Even after a good start over the weekend his ERA sits at 6.46 through seven starts. But over the previous two seasons he had a 3.72 ERA in 43 games, throwing 227.2 innings with 270 strikeouts. Like Castillo he’s under team control for 2022 and 2023 before becoming a free agent. He’s making $5,200,00 this season and will be arbitration eligible for the last time next year (unless he agrees to a contract beforehand).

We’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out. Perhaps the asking price won’t be met (again) and Cincinnati will hold onto their two best pitchers.

70 Responses

  1. Jack

    Who couldn’t see this coming? I’d talk extension first but really how eager are they going to be to stay? This team is done for this season and while if they spent a little money I think they might be competitive next season I don’t see them doing it. So yeah, trade them and see what you can get.

  2. Votto4life

    Does anyone have confidence in Nick Krall getting these trades right?

      • Votto4life


        So signing Moran, Drury and Reynolds shows competency? What does 6-23 show?

      • Earmbrister

        The record shows a team ravaged by injuries. Three starters have missed more than a months time. The Reds currently have their starting 1B, 2B, SS, 3B on IL. Their C was on IL. The CF is on IL while the RF just returned. They currently have 14 players on IL from a 26 man roster. Not that difficult to see.

    • Doc

      Krall. That name sounds familiar.
      Is that the Krall who acquired Drury, or maybe the Krall who acquired Moran, or maybe it was Pham, no, now I remember, it was Reynolds.

      Given what he has been forced to work with, some of his acquisitions are looking pretty good now that we are getting past the small sample size asterisk. Not all moves have gone well but he has also jettisoned people quickly, Dugger is an example, and he has called up Almora, Jr. For someone operating on a shoestring with fewer than 2 years under his belt as GM. Not all the people he has tradied away or released are tearing the cover off the ball, or even throwing the ball. It takes time. Assessing a GM is not a one and done exercise.

      • JayTheRed

        Don’t forget the quality bullpen arms he got for the 2nd half of last season too. Those guys were a huge improvement over the first half.

        I have mixed feelings about Krall but as you mentioned he has done some nice things too with his shoestring payroll.

      • Votto4life

        Really? Drury, Moran and Reynolds? they are evidence of what exactly?

      • Earmbrister

        V4 – Drury, Moran, Reynolds, AND Pham are evidence of competency. We all know that ownership has slashed the budget. Krall has done a good job with the $ available.

        Your dissatisfaction is better directed at the Reds’ ownership.

      • LarkinPhillips

        @Ermbrister, while those might be working out “right now” You have to look at his entire portfolio of off season moves. The payroll of 2021 verse 2022 is not drastically different after the Reds added Minor, Pham, and Moran. Compared to Miley, Gray, Winker, and maybe Suarez those three don’t exactly match track record wise. The book is still out on Krall and he has a very challenging job to overcome the Castellini’s. Hope Williamson and Petty work out from those trades and hopefully he brings back 2 top 100 prospects for Mahle or Castillo, but 2 top 100 prospects for both would be a failure.

      • Earmbrister

        LP, I agree that the book is still out on Krall. The players mentioned were previously mentioned by other posters, I wasn’t cherry picking. The contracts added were one year contracts as opposed to the $34 million owed Suarez for example. I was upset about losing Winker, but he was the cost to unload Suarez’s contract and get any prospects back in return. We’ll see how Williamson and Dunn turn out, as well as Chase Petty.

        We will have a true clear picture of Krall’s performance until several years from now.

    • CI3J

      Krall will trade them for a couple of AA nobodies and Reds media will try to spin it as some trade masterclass.

      • MK

        Think the media has pretty much held their feet to the fire. The team Marketing Dept. Should not be confused with media.

  3. LDS

    While I hated it at the time, Bowie Kuhn nixing the Vida Blue trade probably was a good move. MLB needs a commissioner that looks out for the game and stops these fire sales.

    • Rednat

      excellent point. we have a weak commissioner who i doubt even knows the reds exist. as long as the yankees and dodgers are competing for the world series every year these fire sales will continue and the weak teams will continue to get weaker. about the only thing he may offer is an expanded playoff system like you have in the nba. so with 60 wins we may be able to qualify for the play in game to get into the play in game to get into the play in game etc!!!.

    • Mark Moore

      Kuhn wasn’t an ownership lap dog. Manfred is. Not a chance he nixes trades, even if doing so is better for the game.

  4. Indy Red Man

    Both Castillo and Mahle kind of annoy me. Mahle can’t get past 5 and isn’t good at home while Castillo can lose 2-1 or blow 3-4 run lead. LC has a great arm, but I’m guessing they’re close to .500 in his starts. Of course thats not all his fault. I’d rather keep him, but if they could actually get some real prospects in return then that could work. A young arm like Josiah Gray? Oh wait….we already had him and gave him away.

    • Kevin H

      What does “real” prospects even mean? Not being smart, would just like to educate self.

      • greenmtred

        It probably means high draft choices who are progressing well in the minors and have the physical tools. It’s certainly true that not all “real” prospects become good MLB players, but it’s worth remembering that established MLB pitchers aren’t really a sure bet going forward, either. I certainly agree, though, that letting Castillo and Mahle rehabilitate their value before trading them would make sense.

  5. Old-school

    Memo to RLN

    The reds arent winning the World Series this year or next year.
    Luis Castillo doesnt help you win championships now. The only way the reds have Castillo in 2024 is if they pay him in 2027 and 2028 an 2029 at 20 million + AAV. Raise your hand if you want to commit 2 years of Mario Soto in 1982 and 1983 of hopelessness in order to get $100 million dollars for Mario Soto in 1984-1988. How good was Soto in 1985-88 and how many World Series did the Reds win during those years?

    • JayTheRed

      Maybe I am the minority here, but they don’t have to win the World Series It sure would be nice, but I just want a winning team that has a chance to be in the playoffs and who knows once you’re in the tournament what will happen. The Reds will never build or buy a world series contender. You’re rooting for the wrong team if you think that will ever happen under this ownership.

    • Redsvol

      Old school I absolutely would re-sign Castillo. We need someone to anchor the staff while all the young guys are figuring out how to get major leaguers out. It could be 2-3 years for that to happen. It’s demoralizing to a tram when they don’t know what they’ll get on the mound every 5th day. For the most part, they know with Castillo.

      Too 100 prospects are just that- prospects. We’ve seen what happens with prospects this year. They have trouble with major leaguers. If mahle rebounds then I would trade him at the deadline. He isn’t taking the next step and isn’t that valuable if he can’t get to the 7th inning on a weekly basis. There aren’t enough bullpen arms to keep a staff of 4 innings starting pitchers all year long.

      • AllTheHype

        Very similar comments here a few years back when they signed Homer long term. Castillo turns 30 this year. It would take probably $180m or more to sign him long term. Sure you want that guy on your team making Votto+ money when he’s 34, 35, 36, 37?

  6. BK

    I don’t like the idea of extending Castillo who is under control through his age 30 season. Mahle, almost 2 years younger makes more sense for an extension. Also, both sides must want an extension. Even though the trades may not yield the results you want, the Reds must look to add talent and no one should be surprised they are listening to offers.

    • Grand Salami

      Agree. The younger pitchers are far from established and securing one of these two as the veteran leader makes sense. Mahle seems to be the smarter extension and, at the same time, Castillo is probably the one to fetch greater trade value.

  7. Jeff morris

    If the Reds trade both of them, they better be VERY PICKY on who they get in return! The reds trades have not been the best…Example being A Chapman. So they better be smart and use their head here!

    • Doc

      Chapman trade was way before Krall. Can’t hang that around his neck. Maybe focusing on the trade that brought Castillo would be one to focus on as long as one is dredging up old trades.

    • MBS

      Chapman was also a PR move, the Reds wanted him gone

  8. William

    I would extend Castillo. Wait until Mahle is pitching better if you trade him. I have no problem with trading Mahle if you get a good deal. However, the Reds are not going to ever win a World Series without keeping some players. India is another one to extend. I am not talking a lot of players. Extend a few…Castillo will get even better. He will help the Reds win a World Series, along with Hunter Greene and Lodolo. It would be really smart to extend India now. He will atleast be a star. It will also help the owners rebuild some trust with the fans. Unfortunately, we have a GM that will probably make a bad trade for Castillo.

  9. Doc

    Krall acquisitions were 10 for 26 tonight. Not too shabby for a reputedly clueless GM.

    • LDS

      It’s one game. And they are still a long way from competing. So the win was nice but Krall isn’t suddenly a candidate for GM of the year.

      • William

        Doc….6 and 23 and you praise the GM….unbelievable….

      • greenmtred

        I think Doc was indulging in a little sarcasm. Pham et al are gap-filler: One-year contracts because the team needed to field players at every position, and contention wasn’t a goal this year. The reactions of some of us–panning these guys–was pretty quick off the mark, starting before any of them had played an inning for the Reds, so now that they are helping win a few games, it’s great fun to point that out.

    • Indy Red Man

      If only they hadn’t dropped 20 of 21. Or decided SanMartin could be a credible starter based on zero evidence. Or wasted $10 mil on Mike Minor. Or salary dumped for players to be named never and a $3 off coupon from Ponderosa.
      So close to genius

      • Votto4life

        If you count only the 6 games they won and not the 23 games they lost, Nick Krall is doing a fine job.

    • Jon

      And the Pirates beat the Dodgers. Anything can happen in baseball any given night.

  10. JayTheRed

    Remember this though Prospects are prospects have proven NOTHING at the major league level. So many prospects have turned out to be busts over the years for all major league teams. Do you trade away quality starters who are relatively inexpensive by baseball standards, for something that is not proven at the top level? Yes, it’s a risk and normally top 100 ranked players at least turn into Major Leaguers.

    I just wonder what the Reds plan to do for a rotation next year if they are getting rid of two more starting pitchers. Oh, wait I know they will trade for more Mike Minor’s of the world or other scrap heap players.

    • Michael E

      Prospects are just prospects and many bust, that is very true. I can tell you though, that neither Mahle or Castillo will have a single strikeout or win for the Reds in 2024 regardless, so a prospect with some potential seems like a better deal than nothing at all.

    • Buck Foy

      Prospects are just that but we either get prospects or we get nothing. Only a great fool would Let them go for nothing so…there is a chance ownership chooses that.

      Sidebar: The Reds start this year is proof there is a God…and he thinks Phil is a jerk.

  11. SteveLV

    Completely right. 2024 is the first year they could compete. Would rather have both then, but either extend them or trade them now for the highest value available.

  12. Doc4uk

    What is up with Votto? Seems like a ie there has been no update?

    • old-school

      Someone reported yesterday he and Senzel are doing better but aren’t a couple days away. May have been Bell pregame media.

  13. Melvin

    Not surprising at all. It will be greatly surprising if we get what we should get in return.

  14. Michael E

    They might be our two best pitchers, but I am not a fan of either. Way too inconsistent. Castillo stinks for at least a month or 6 or 7 starts every year, sometimes two months. So by the time he gets it going, he’s part of the reason the Reds are nearly eliminated already.

    Mahle, good, not great, they aren’t going to pay him the 8 digit per year deal he’ll want.

    Move them both, but as usual, a bit late on moving veterans. Always the same with the Reds. They keep thinking if they keep this vet or that vet, that fans will be more likely to come to game or some other non-sense.

    I don’t see any blockbuster deal for either, but both should bring back another teams best or second best prospect and probably two of their top 6 prospects.

    If we trade both and don’t come away with two prospects that slot into our top 5, if not top 3, I’ll be sorely disappointed.

    • Rob

      Both are worth we’ll north of 8 digits per year. Depending on when you resign them. I think you could get either one of them for 4 years and <$60M Now! That is 2nd/3rd starter territory. Gray was $35M for 3 years, off a bad season, and that was 4 years ago.
      I just don’t know how you decide who you keep and who you don’t through this nonsense. Both have performed at or above expectation for the past 3-4 years. Aren’t these the type of guys you build around? Or is it when every young star reaches contract renewal time for the Reds, it is adios. Who was our last young reup? Suarez – about 5 years ago? How many have we turned away? Lorenzen, igleasias, Wink, Geno, etc. Stupid. Yeah, I know you can’t keep them all but you can keep a few if you do it early enough. Don’t think Castillo would take $60M guaranteed today? Or let’s just keep telling ourselves that we can get Max Scherger for $15M per year. Or that Gutierrez will win 18 games next year.

  15. Klugo

    It’s a good time to start dangling them. Just dont give them away, for pete’s sakes.

  16. DHud

    Who in their right mind is giving us ANYTHING for Mahle

  17. Mark Moore

    All depends on the return. Our opportunity to be competitive to any degree is not coming this season. Next season probably doesn’t look great either.

    At the core, the complete distrust of the FO comes to mind. That extends to Krall regardless of who actually pulls the strings. I think he’s in over his head.

    If they move, you have to figure The Moose goes as part of the package. That likely diminishes the return.

  18. Jim t

    If the other teams know you have to trade them what leverage do you have to get good value? It would take two or more bidders to push the return. The market will drive the value.not quite as easy being a GM as some want to make it out to be.

    • MBS

      The leverage is other teams want him to. The Yankee’s for example aren’t the only team making an offer.

      • Jim t

        Do they? We will see. What value do you put on a 40-49 career pitcher with about 1 1/2 years of team control who started the year on disabled list with a shoulder issue and will be 30 years old?

        Keep in mind the reds will not sign him long term so if they wait and let him hit the market there is a chance they sign him without giving up prospects.

  19. MK

    In his 6th big league season Castillo is 40-49 with a 3.73 ERA. Those numbers do not conjure thoughts of a super star. He has a great arm and I would say hopefully a lot of potential. If he is traded to a real contender he would probably be a middle of the rotation pitcher as would Mahle. Don’t think either will bring a prospect haul. We have already heard teams are not willing to pay the asking price.

    • Mark Moore

      He’s a #3, maybe a #2 at times, with flashes of #1. And he’s not always had the best run support because … well … our Reds.

  20. Ropes

    This team also needs player leadership. Who is helping young pitchers learn how to pitch in the Majors? Who is the crafty veteran helping “vaunted”prospects learn how to pitch to MLB players? If we trade away every pitcher who has value and a growing salary potential, the Reds become the baseball version of ground hog day.Always adding prospects,mostly failed ones and then if they succeed, we dump them for more prospects, and repeat the cycle.

  21. RedBB

    It’s idiotic to trade them RIGHT now as both are close to all time low value. Mahle has been terrible and Castillo is coming off injury. Let’s hope that idiot Krall doesn’t trade them for a pack of Magic Legumes.

  22. Votto4life

    If you trade one good player for two average players you end up with a team of average players.

  23. Kevin H

    Greene, Ashcraft, and Lodolo are the future. Who are you going to replace Castillo and Mahle with? To me ever rotation has that vet or solid number 1 guy. Mahle has had a off year so far. Castillo to me is hard luck pitcher. He had a 3 Era last year I think.

    Point is we have seen the struggles without Miley and Gray. I hope they don’t trade them at least till they have a solid rotation behind them.

    • Grand Salami

      Yes, I think one needs to be considered for an extension. You could ‘buy low’ on Mahle right now.

      Speaking of Gray, he’s been dinged up but made his 3rd start last night after returning from the IL. He was lights out, only pitching 4 innings but striking out 7. To date his peripherals are good but they’ve received less than 10 IP.

      Miley is set to make his first appearance tonight. The fact he beat Minor back from the IL adds insult to the injury of that non-sensical trade.

  24. realist

    I heard the great Nick Krall talking to Tommy Thrall on the game yesterday. i like Thrall but it was so butter soft. Basically Krall said he was bringing Minor in to help the young rookie starters learn the game. He also said the reds strategy is to produce winning teams in the minor leagues because it is important for the players to learn how to win. Any one else hear that?

  25. Michael B. Green

    We should use this forum to suggest some comps for Krall to make the right trade for Castillo. Jose Berrios is the perfect comp. He had 1.5 years left on his contract when he was traded and he was traded for #16 Austin Martin and #93 Simeon Woods Richardson ( ranks for 2020).

    That puts a comp with AZ for Corbin Carroll (#19) and Blake Walston (#95). Not Mike Minor. Not Justin Dunn.

    Let’s see if CIN gets anything close to this kind of deal for Castillo.

    • Old-school

      I posted this 2 days ago
      Arizona is in rebuild mode
      Toronto then resigned Berrios for 7 years and $131 million

      Who wants the reds to sign Castillo for 7/131? Toronto set the market

      Giants padres Dodgers would be playoff caliber teams also needing to beat each other

      Giants have elite Mauricio who could play RF and # 13 prospect now

      Also have a lefty pitcher in the 70’s who is very good

      Minnesota turned out ok

      Flipped the roster and ready to
      Win now

  26. Michael B. Green

    Mahle should bring something close but perhaps a bit less than Castillo. Not Jake Fraley.

    A+/AA players – not low A. Not someone that CIN doesn’t need to add to the 40MR for 3 years.

    One hitter and one pitcher.

    Make great trades to shut us up.

  27. Jim Delaney

    Any trade or Castillo or Mahle will likely be tied to trading Moustaskas contract and will limit any return. The current ownership group led by the Castellini and Williams families care about profit margin not winning baseball games or collecting prospects…
    Krall will be forced to continue the payroll reducing and then will die on the sword for what may become the worst season in Reds history… Fans have to stop going to the park, stop watching the games, stop listening to the games. Bleed this ownership group until they will sell…

  28. Roger S.

    The Reds will never win a World Series no matter who the Owner is. The fans do not go to enough games to provide the resources to compete. Milwaukee, Chicago and St. Louis have far better fan support than the Reds have,

  29. Nick in NKY

    They should probably look to move Castillo this season. I hate to say it, but his value is high right now, and they won’t be competitive this year and probably not next year either. Even with his injury to start this year, his body of work is sufficient to command a worthwhile prospect return. The next great Reds team won’t have both of these guys in the rotation. Hopefully it will be anchored by Greene and Lodolo. Mahle could be a veteran number 4 in that rotation.