Reds: Trading Luis Castillo to the Yankees could net huge return

CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 1: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - APRIL 1: Luis Castillo #58 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals on Opening Day. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Admit it, after the woeful start that Luis Castillo has had to begin the 2021 season, you’ve thought back to those whispers during the offseason and wondered if trading the right-hander to the New York Yankees would have been the prudent move. What might the Cincinnati Reds be able to get from the Bronx Bombers in exchange for La Piedra?

The rumors have been out there for quite sometime. The Yankees are a known suitor for Castillo. The Reds front office stood pat this past winter and did not deal their ace to Brian Cashman and the Yankees. However, depending on how the season plays out, a deal could be in the works before the July 30th trade deadline.

Could the Reds actually trade Luis Castillo?

It seems like a wild idea, right? I mean, prior to this season, Reds fans would have laid in front of truck to keep Luis Castillo in the Queen City. But, after eight starts, the right-hander looks like a shell of himself and many fans are wondering what in the world is wrong.

Castillo leads the league in batting average against and hits allowed. His 7.71 ERA is the worst among the Cincinnati starters and matches that of now Triple-A starting pitcher José De León. Castillo has been unable to get outs, watching his strikeout-rate plummet from 30.5% in 2020 to just 16.3% this season according to FanGraphs.

While I believe Castillo’s problems are partially mental, they’re mostly mechanical, as several broadcast analysts have seen issues with Castillo’s delivery. While David Bell has maintained that his Opening Day starter is close to hitting his stride, many fans don’t feel the same way.

There’s also the matter of the Cincinnati Reds’ starting rotation depth. With Sonny Gray, Tyler Mahle, and Wade Miley all under team control through at least next season, the Reds can maintain at least 60% of their current rotation heading into 2022. Not to mention that Tejay Antone, who could easily enter the starting rotation next season, is under team control through 2025.

Cincinnati also has some very viable arms coming up through the farm system. Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene are both currently at Double-A Chattanooga, but could soon make their way to the big leagues. Lyon Richardson is another name to keep an eye on, and both Tony Santillan and Vladimir Gutierrez are on the cusp of their major league debut.

What might the Reds be able to get in return from the Yankees?

To be sure, Luis Castillo’s trade value has taken a major hit, so the best course of action, if Cincinnati wishes to deal him, would be to wait until the Winter Meetings in December. However, patience is not a virtue often shared by MLB executives, and could trigger Brian Cashman and Nick Krall to engage in trade talks.

While Gleyber Torres was the name that emerged over the winter, his trade value has taken a hit as well. Torres is hitting just .234 with one home run on the year. His current OPS of .625 is a far cry from his .834 OPS prior to the 2021 season. Also, while shortstop is an area of need this season, the Reds appear ready to move forward with José García, perhaps as soon as this fall.

Any deal involving Luis Castillo would have to net the Cincinnati Reds at least one Top 100 prospect in return, and the most likely player would be Deivi Garcia. The diminutive right-hander is only 21-years old, has a devastating changeup, and won’t reach free agency until 2027.

I mentioned at least one Top 100 prospect, because if the Yankees are going to play ball, the Reds need to take as much as they can in return. There’s no urgency on the part of Nick Krall and the Cincinnati front office to deal Castillo, so they should shoot for the moon and request New York’s top prospects, Jasson Dominguez as well.

Dominguez has a long way to go until he reaches his potential. Most scouts don’t expect the 18-year-old to reach the majors for the next few years, but his potential is through the roof. Dominguez is a five-tool player, and if the Yankees want Castillo that badly, it’s going to cost them.  Any deal with the Yankees should include Jasson Domniguez.

Finally, let’s add a power pitcher to the mix. Luis Medina, the right-hander hit triple-digits on the radar gun when he was 16-years old. An international signing in 2015, Medina is a bit erratic, but has the potential to be a frontline starting pitcher for years to come.

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So, would you pull the trigger on this deal? Is it too much for Luis Castillo’s services? Not enough? Should Cincinnati even consider dealing Castillo? Most Reds fans would prefer to just see Castillo return to form, but with the minor league depth at the position and New York’s hunger for another starting pitcher, perhaps a trade is the best route.