Cincinnati Reds: This is the perfect starting rotation for the 2021 season

ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after recording the final out of the game. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - SEPTEMBER 11: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after recording the final out of the game. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) smiles in the dugout.
Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) smiles in the dugout.Cincinnati Reds Scrimmage July 15 /

2. Luis Castillo, Reds right-handed pitcher

As I said earlier, Luis Castillo and Sonny Gray are interchangeable atop the Cincinnati Reds starting rotation. Castillo was the Opening Day starter in 2019, and may well reprise that role in 2021. If we’re talking about the perfect starting rotation, La Piedra is most definitely in the conversation.

Castillo had a tough go of it in 2020, but rebounded well down the stretch and performed very well in Game 2 of the Wild Card Series against the Atlanta Braves. Castillo enters this offseason, his first-year of arbitration eligibility, with a huge pay raise on the horizon.

According to MLB Trade Rumors, Castillo can expect to take home between $3M-$5.8M in 2021. Nick Krall and the rest of the Cincinnati Reds front office need to do everything they can to work out a longterm deal with Castillo. If it’s not a priority this winter, it will be this time next year.

While it’s Trevor Bauer who drew most of the kudos for his performance last season, if you take 2019 and 2020 into account, Castillo is arguably the better pitcher. Castillo has a lower ERA (3.35) than Bauer (3.78) and a lower WHIP (1.166) than the 2020 NL Cy Young winner (1.133).

Luis Castillo is a bonafide ace and under team control for the next three seasons. Of all the players currently on Cincinnati’s roster, La Piedra may be the most un-tradable. Castillo is definitely part of the perfect Cincinnati Reds rotation in 2021.