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Reds: Luis Castillo has ruined any chance of long-term contract extension

May 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) hands the ball to manager David Bell (25) after being replaced. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Luis Castillo (58) hands the ball to manager David Bell (25) after being replaced. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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Prior to the 2021 season, I would’ve stumped for Cincinnati Reds starter Luis Castillo to receive a contract extension. His play thus far has squashed that notion, and has likely ruined any chance the right-hander had of securing a long-term deal with the team.

Castillo entered this season having received a one-year/$4.2M contract in his first year of arbitration eligibility. The Reds have two years of club control remaining and it’s highly doubtful that we’ll hear any talk of a contract extension this year. In fact, I’d argue that a trade is more likely at this point.

The Reds control Luis Castillo for two more seasons.

What’s wrong with Luis Castillo? I wish I knew. Heck, I’m sure Reds manager David Bell and pitching coach Derek Johnson are asking the same thing. Is it physical? Is it mental? Is it mechanical? I don’t know. But, what I do know is that in no way should the Cincinnati Reds commit to Castillo long-term.

Entering the offseason, you could have easily made the case that Castillo was Cincinnati’s top priority should the team consider handing out contract extensions. Castillo, along with Jesse Winker, Tyler Mahle, and Amir Garrett were all entering their first foray into the arbitration process.

As we sit here, nearly two full months into the 2021 season, the only player among those mentioned who’s in-line to receive a contract extension should be Winker. Although I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing the Reds lock up Tyler Mahle to a long-term deal either.

But, as far as Luis Castillo is concerned, under no circumstances should Nick Krall offer anything other than what an arbiter rules the 28-year-old is owed next winter. Castillo’s performance in 2021 has been putrid. That may be a strong word, but it’s a fact. The right-hander has been Cincinnati’s worst starting pitcher, and that’s including Jeff Hoffman.

Luis Castillo has been the Reds worst starting pitcher.

Have you seen Luis Castillo’s stat line this season? The Reds right-hander has allowed more hits than any pitcher in Major League Baseball. You read that right. His 55 hits allowed are tops in MLB. Zach Eflin is tied with Castillo, but has allowed 55 hits over 51.1 innings of work. Castillo has reached that mark after only throwing 37.1 innings.

Castillo’s 32 runs allowed top MLB as well. It tops that of Texas Rangers’ starter Jordan Lyles who’s allowed 28 runs to cross the plate this season. Not only that, but hitters have a batting average of .344 against Castillo. That’s the most among any starting pitcher.

His 7.71 ERA is the worst among Cincinnati starters. In fact, José De León, in only two starts, owns the same ERA and has 18 strikeouts over just 9.1 innings. Castillo has 29 Ks through 37.1 innings of work.

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It’s a good thing the Cincinnati Reds avoided contract talks with Luis Castillo this winter, because given his current production, Krall and Co. would be raked over the coals. As it stands now, the Reds front office is in the driver’s seat, and should La Piedra straighten things out, Cincinnati is in the catbird seat.

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