Cincinnati Reds need to sign Luis Castillo to a contract extension

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 03: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on April 3, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 03: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches in the second inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on April 3, 2019 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Luis Castillo has been dominant thus far in 2019. The Cincinnati Reds don’t need to waste anymore time. It’s time to sign Castillo to a long-term deal.

There is no longer any reason for fans to beg the front office to trade their top prospects for a bonafide ace. The Cincinnati Reds already have one on their pitching staff. It’s now time for the Reds to sign Luis Castillo to a long-term contract extension.

The Cincinnati Reds pounded the Miami Marlins during last night’s 14-0 victory at Great American. But, while the play of Jesse Winker, Matt Kemp, Scott Schebler, and others was exciting to watch, Luis Castillo was the most dominant player on the field for the Reds last night.

Luis Castillo is playing on another level right now. Castillo went 7 innings, allowed only 2 hits, and no runs while striking out 8 and walking just 1 batter. If that stat line doesn’t get you excited, how about this one? For the season, the 26-year-old has an ERA below 1 (0.92) and has struck out 25 batters through 19.2 innings of work.

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Perhaps the most important statistic thus far in 2019 is home runs allowed. After allowing 28 homers last season, Castillo has played every single game of this young season in the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park and has yet to allow a home run.

In case you’ve missed it, baseball GMs are handing out contract extensions like Halloween candy. Throughout the offseason and even into last week, some enormous contract extensions have been handed out to some of the game’s best young talent.

Chris Sale, Nolan Arenado, Paul Goldschmidt, and Justin Verlander are some of the big names that recently signed extensions with their teams. However, it’s the contract extensions of Eloy Jimenez, Ronald Acuna, and German Marquez that should catch the eye of the Cincinnati Reds.

All the aforementioned players had more than one-year of team control remaining on their existing contracts. Heck, Jimenez hadn’t even played a game in the big leagues before signing his extension. That’d be like the Reds signing Nick Senzel to a big contract right now. Don’t worry, I’m not advocating for that, yet.

What I will say is that for a small market team like the Cincinnati Reds, it would behoove them to lock up their young talent before they price themselves out of what the Reds are willing to spend. What the team did in signing Eugenio Suárez was a brilliant move and a model for how to approach a potential deal for Castillo.

Suárez flashed what he could do and the Reds signed him before he reached his final year of arbitration. The Reds took a gamble that what they’d seen from Suárez was just the beginning. They rewarded his play while taking on some risk that he may not continue to ascend up the ladder. Suárez sacrificed the potential for a huge payday and took the security of a long-term deal.

It seems to have worked out well for both sides. I’d argue that after seeing the kind of money that Arenado received from Colorado, the Reds got Suárez for a bargain. But, a 7 year/ $66 million contract is nothing to sneeze at either.

German Marquez just received a nice contract extension from the Colorado Rockies to the tune of 5 years/ $43 million. That’s a nice blueprint for a potential deal between Luis Castillo and the Cincinnati Reds, though I’d argue Castillo could command a bit more than that.

Luis Castillo does not become arbitration eligible until 2021 and won’t hit the free agent market until 2024, but it’s highly unlikely the Reds allow him to reach that point. If Cincinnati were to offer Castillo a contract extension, anything less than a deal that would take him through the 2023 season would be irrational.

Don't panic just yet Reds fans. Next

Today’s game is about potential over production. It’s not what have you done for me lately, but rather what are you going to do for me in the future. The future looks bright for Castillo and if the Reds want to have their first legitimate ace since Johnny Cueto, they’d be smart to lock up Luis Castillo very soon.