Photo: Doug Gray
For what feels like the 10th year in a row, but it’s really only the 3rd, Luis Castillo is the target of many teams around Major League Baseball during a trade period. Two consecutive winters have come and gone with Castillo’s name being brought up every other day in trade rumors but Cincinnati holding onto their ace. Now the Reds are back in the rumor mill, discussing a potential deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers according to Jon Morosi of MLB Network. The talks have just been preliminary between the two clubs according to the report.
Luis Castillo was just named to his second All-Star team. He’s made 12 starts this season for Cincinnati and has posted a 2.92 ERA in his 71.0 innings while giving up 55 hits, walking 23, and striking out 74 of the 293 hitters he’s faced. His ground ball rate is down this season from where it’s been in the past, but it’s still at 50%, which is well above-average.
Castillo is pitching for a team with no chance to make the playoffs this year. But he’s also not a free agent after this season, either. Cincinnati could retain the right-handed starter through the 2023 season if they wanted to. His salary for 2023 isn’t yet determined as he’ll be arbitration eligible for the last time. He’s currently making $7,350,000 for the 2022 season.
There was no report on the kind of return that the Reds would be looking for. But given that Castillo is likely the best starting pitcher on the market, and isn’t a free agent until after next year, the return should be big. Cincinnati doesn’t have to trade him and they should be sure to understand their leverage with that if teams balk at the idea of paying a premium for a premiere pitcher. This isn’t likely to be the final time we hear about trade rumors involving Castillo before the trade deadline (August 2nd), and it’s not likely it’s going to be the only time we hear about the Reds involved in talks with other teams about some of their players. Let’s just hope the organization gets it right, no matter which decision they make.