Cincinnati Reds: Luis Castillo is the best bargain money can buy

CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 16: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OHIO - SEPTEMBER 16: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds throws a pitch. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

To say the Cincinnati Reds are getting an incredible bargain for Luis Castillo in 2021 is a vast understatement. La Piedra signed a one-year deal worth $4.2M on Friday, securing his spot in the rotation provided Cincinnati does not deal their ace in the coming weeks.

The following comparison should eliminate any doubt that the Reds and general manager Nick Krall are the real winners in this deal. Both pitchers made their major league debuts in 2017 and are entering their age-28 season.

Player A has a career ERA of 4.17, tossing 533.1 innings with 405 strikeouts and a 1.404 WHIP. Player B sports a lifetime ERA of 3.62 and has thrown 519.2 frames while racking up 578 punch outs with a 1.168 WHIP. One of these pitchers is making almost a million dollars more than the other. And it’s not the one you would guess.

The Reds got an absolute bargain signing Luis Castillo for $4.2M.

Player A is Kyle Freeland of the Colorado Rockies, who agreed to a deal that will pay him slightly more than $5M for the upcoming season. I’m not sure who Freeland’s agent is, but I’m assuming he has a part-time gig as a magician.

Player B is, of course, Luis Castillo, who is a far superior hurler than Freeland in nearly every category. All indications point to Castillo being on the brink of stardom.  The former All-Star ranked sixth in the NL with an 11.4 K/9 rate, while his 89 strikeouts were good enough for ninth place during the 2020 season.

Since 2018, La Piedra has not only been one of the better pitchers in the league, he’s also proven to be one of the most durable. He’s made the fourth most starts in the National League while placing sixth in Ks. His 29 victories over that timeframe rank seventh among NL hurlers, and his 430.1 innings pitched are the eighth-most.

If the Reds are to compete in the National League Central this season, it will result from their phenomenal one-two punch at the top of the rotation with Sonny Gray and Luis Castillo. Friday’s news of avoiding arbitration with Castillo should produce a giant sigh of relief as well as a sign that Reds GM Nick Krall is adept in securing team-friendly deals.

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The days of Luis Castillo coming relatively cheaply will not last much longer. Friday’s deal should all but squelch the possibility of him being dealt this offseason. Reds Country should appreciate La Piedra carving opposing hitters and sporting the wishbone “C” while they can.