Luis Castillo may be the best player that is assumed to be on the trade market this summer. The Cincinnati Reds lone All-Star has made 13 starts this season and so far is having the best year of his career, posting a 2.77 ERA in his 78.0 innings where he’s allowed 57 hits – just 5 home runs – and walked 27 batters to go along with 82 strikeouts. For a team that’s looking to really bolster their rotation, Castillo is exactly the guy to try and acquire.
With that said, the Cincinnati Reds aren’t in a “must trade Luis Castillo” situation. The righty is not a free agent at the end of this season. He is under contract with the Reds through the 2023 season, with next year being his final year of arbitration. Argue if you would like to that it makes sense to move him now, but having the option to move him in the offseason, or even next year at the deadline gives the Reds leverage in any trade talks with whoever is on the other side of the phone.
That brings us around to the New York Yankees, who are reportedly interested in acquiring the Reds ace for what feels like the 47th season in a row. Going back two straight offseasons the Yankees have been heavily rumored to be calling Cincinnati to try and acquire Luis Castillo. Jon Heyman has been the source of many of these rumors and he’s back at it this morning at the New York Post, noting that the Yankees and Dodgers are the “early favorites” to land Castillo in a trade.
Heyman notes within that the price tag will be high for Castillo. He says that after ending the first paragraph of his piece noting that the Yankees won’t move prospects Anthony Volpe or Oswald Peraza in the deal.
Anthony Volpe was recently ranked as the 16th best prospect in baseball at the midseason point by Baseball America. He had a big season in 2021, hitting .294/.423/.604 as he split his season in Low-A and High-A. This season he’s been solid, but unspectacular at the plate. As a 21-year-old in Double-A he’s hitting .253/.351/.461 while going 35 for 39 in stolen base attempts. There’s a lot to like with Volpe. He’s spent most of his time in the minors at shortstop, but is probably a second baseman down the line. Still, his bat projects well and he’s a 20-20 threat.
It would make some sense that he could be off the table for the Yankees. But then there’s Oswald Peraza. Baseball America ranked the shortstop as the 79th best prospect in baseball. The 22-year-old is currently in Triple-A and hitting just .245/.317/.422. He’s young for the level, and he’s 19 for 22 on stolen base attempts, but his offensive output this season isn’t exactly turning heads. Last year he hit .297/.356/.477 with 38 steals and 18 home runs between High-A, Double-A, and a very short stint in Triple-A.
If a team isn’t willing to give up a guy rated as the 79th prospect in baseball who isn’t exactly having a good offensive season for Luis Castillo how do they expect to land a player like Luis Castillo?
Not that it may matter, though. The Cincinnati Reds farm system is a bit down right now after a bunch of graduations to the big leagues in the last few months, but the one area where they aren’t down is at the shortstop position. Elly De La Cruz is their top prospect and he’s a shortstop. Last year’s 1st round draft pick Matt McLain is already in Double-A and he’s a shortstop. Jose Barrero is struggling right now as he returns from a hamate injury, but he’s a shortstop. Perhaps the Yankees just aren’t the right fit even if they were willing to deal one of their top prospects in a deal.