Cincinnati Reds: 3 best trades under Dick Williams

CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 16: Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams looks on prior to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on June 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Dodgers defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JUNE 16: Cincinnati Reds general manager Dick Williams looks on prior to a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Great American Ball Park on June 16, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Dodgers defeated the Reds 3-1. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Minnesota Twins.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 26: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the Minnesota Twins. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

1. Reds trade Dan Straily to the Marlins for Luis Castillo and two minor leaguers.

One of DIck Williams’ first deals as the Reds GM could potentially be remembered as one of the greatest heists in the franchise history. Just over two months into his tenure on January 19, 2017, the Reds sent right-handed starter Dan Straily to Miami for three minor leaguers.

At the time of the deal, it appeared as a pretty insignificant trade. Straily spent one season in the Queen City after being claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres on April 1, 2016. However, he was excellent during his brief time as a Redleg.

Posting an impressive 14-8 record with a 3.76 ERA in 34 games including 31 starts, Dan Straily was the best pitcher on a team that lost 94 games throughout a dismal 2016 Cincinnati Reds campaign.

Fortunately for the Reds, this had been the peak of Straily’s career. During that 2016 season, Straily posted career-best marks in victories, ERA, innings and ERA+. After arriving in South Beach, Straily pitched two seasons for the Marlins compiling a mediocre 15-15 record with 4.20 ERA.

There’s no way the Cincinnati Reds could have known what Luis Castillo would become, but sometimes you purchase a lottery ticket and you get lucky. Since making his debut in June of 2017, Castillo has won 32 games and earned an All-Star selection.

During his four seasons in Cincinnati, La Piedra has finished in the Top 10 in wins, fewest hits per nine innings, strikeouts twice and complete games. When the 2021 season starts, Luis Castillo will be 28-years old and under club control through the 2023 campaign.

Right-hander Austin Brice spent portions of two seasons in the Reds bullpen appearing in 55 games and tossing 70 innings while compiling a 5.40 ERA. Following the 2018 season, he was claimed off waiver by the Los Angeles Angels before eventually ending up back in Miami. This past season, Brice spent as a member of the Boston Red Sox.

Outfield prospect Zeek White, a former third-round pick of the Miami Marlins, spent parts of three seasons in the Cincinnati organization, never playing above A-ball before being released by the Dayton Dragons in May of 2019.

In conclusion, the rebuild may have taken longer than anyone in Reds Country may have hope for, but in the end, Dick Williams did exactly what any shrewd front office hopes to accomplish. He constructed a roster that earned a trip to the postseason as well as supplying manager David Bell with the personnel capable of winning for years to come.